Norton Presses NPS to Light the Darkness in Sherman Circle (10/20/2010)
Norton Presses NPS to Light the Darkness in Sherman Circle
October 20, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released a letter from Norton to National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis concerning inadequate lighting in Sherman Circle. In her letter, Norton asks Jarvis to allocate funds from the National Park Service (NPS) budget for the placement of interior lights in Sherman Circle. The Congresswoman is especially concerned with the safety of Sherman Circle following the murder of a Catholic University student near the park in August.
"There should never be a NPS park that is totally dark in our city, particularly in a park such as Sherman Circle, because people routinely take shortcuts through the circle at all hours of the day and night," said Norton. "Neglecting lighting in Sherman Circle is unjustifiable considering nearby Grant Circle, another NPS park, is lighted. We want equal treatment for Sherman Circle."
In August, Norton met with D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), U.S. Park Police Chief Salvatore Lauro, and NPS representatives to inspect the safety of the park. It was then that the Congresswoman raised the issue of absent lighting in Sherman Circle.
Norton's full letter follows.
Jonathan B. Jarvis
National Park Service
U.S. Department of Interior
1845 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Director Jarvis:
I write to ask you to allocate funds from the National Park Service (NPS) budget for the placement of interior lights within Sherman Circle in the District of Columbia, similar to those within nearby Grant Circle. In August, a Catholic University student was killed near Sherman Circle while riding his bicycle. It is unclear whether this tragedy would have been prevented if Sherman Circle had adequate light, but it took this tragedy to bring an issue, which residents in the Sherman Circle neighborhood have previously complained about, to the attention of public officials. Unlike Grant Circle, there are no interior lights in Sherman Circle. There is no reason why the two circles should be treated differently by NPS with regards to public safety.
I visited Sherman Circle along with local and NPS officials, as well as United States Park and D.C. police. After a follow-up meeting, NPS Superintendent Cindy Cox arranged for a Class C estimate for interior lighting within Sherman Circle. The cost estimate is approximately $452,000. While I understand from Superintendent Cox that funds for this project are not in the current NPS budget, I urge you to designate funds for this project from the FY 2010 or FY 2011 Statutory Aid Account in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill as soon as practicable.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Eleanor Holmes Norton