“NoMa – A Neighborhood with a History, Future but No Present”

NoMa-DC_NorthOne-page article in this month’s DC North gives a brief history of the area, including the fact that the “NoMa” name was created way back in the 1980’s by the D.C. government as a marketing tool.

Article concludes with a summary of what potentially could fill the NoMa area:

What will the new NoMa be like – Rosslyn? The new baseball district? It will be almost all large, new buildings with lots of glass. There is no central park or public space planned as of now. It is surrounded by major planned developments: the rebuilt Sursum Corda housing along North Capitol (including housing on three city-owned parcels on the east side of the street), redesign of New York and Florida Avenues, a proposed “New Town” where the Capital City Market is, continued gentrification and a coming row of tall condo buildings along the east side of the tracks, development of the Metropolitan Bike Trail along the tracks on the west, a mammoth commercial building over the tracks south of H Street … so many things coming! The city is revamping the underpasses connecting east and west, plans are floated for developing the various triangular bits of federal land as mini-parks and so forth.

NoMa: A Neighborhood with a History, Future but No Present


What we should be discussing…

The serious issue of the lack of greenery or public park (note: residents will soon be losing our current “park”–a contaminated field slated for development) must be addressed by D.C. government, elected officials and ANC’s.

Foremost, they should push for maximum public space along the Metropolitan Branch Trail in the Eckington and Edgewood neighborhoods. Evidently, (and, incredibly, as promised earlier this year), the DOT has selected a contractor–meaning work should begin soon on the section between Franklin St and New York Avenue (see pdf docs, NY-Rhode Island and Rhode Island-Franklin St.). Per the conditions of the contract’s 12-month schedule (as well as the 2-month lag between contract awarding and the Notice-to-Proceed), this would result in completion next winter.

The space east of Harry Thomas Way to the train tracks (note to our councilman–a nice, well-used greenspace would compliment this street and its namesake much better than the current status) was part of the original MBT plans, but its current status appears to be shaky, at best. The potential impact of this trail on our neighborhood cannot be understated–hence, the importance placed on its ultimately approved design and boundaries.

Much more on the trail on this blog once the official press release is issued.

Second, although currently a long shot, foster real discussions on the development of the McMilan Reservoir into a public space. You can congregate a potent list of partners, such as the National Coalition to Save Our Mall, vocal residents within the 1-mile radius of the Reservoir who live further from a public greenspace park than any other residents in the District, and Metropolitan Transit authorities (who will testify to the issues that will arise from a large development in this area)–not to mention the numerous, reputable environmental groups. Time, moreover, is also of importance to this issue.

Someone take the lead.



One thought on ““NoMa – A Neighborhood with a History, Future but No Present”

  1. I agree completely with you. Let’s work to publicize this issue and our position. There is a group that was on Kojo about 6 months ago that has a plan to connect the MBT to the Rock Creek Park, but the Soldier’s Home and the McMillan Reservoir and McMillan Filtration site are all needed. A dream, but one worth fighting for.

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