C & O Canal at 34th Street pedestrian bridge
Dear Mr Vogel:
In its meeting of 19 February, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the final design for the addition of a new dock to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal at the 34th Street pedestrian bridge, located in the C&O Canal National Historic Park. Expressing its support for this project, the Commission adopted the recommendation of the Old Georgetown Board (enclosed) to approve the concept submission, with the exception of the proposed planters.
In their discussion, the Commission members commented that the stairs and ramp will be a welcome addition to support the recreational use of the canal, a National Historic Landmark. Noting the simple character of this historically industrial landscape, they recommended eliminating the proposed bench and planter element; they observed that the embankment and dock themselves would provide an actual seating area, while the proposed additional elements would be gratuitous within the canal landscape and the narrow planting beds would not likely be successful without intensive maintenance. They concluded that this simplification of the design would improve the compatibility of the project with the context of the canal and towpath.
The Commission members noted that the project overall demonstrates a level of care appropriate to the historic canal. As always, the staff is available to assist you with future submissions.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Robert Vogel, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: Scott Walzak, MakeDC
Joe Sternlieb, Georgetown Business Improvement District
Enclosure: Report of the Old Georgetown Board, 19 February 2015
National Park Service
C & O Canal National Historical Park
C&O Canal at 34th Street, NW
(Reviewed: 5 Feb. 2015, 4 Dec. 2014)
REPORT: The Old Georgetown Board (OGB) reviewed final drawings for the proposed temporary dock at the C&O Canal National Historical Park at its meeting on 5 February 2015. The OGB had reviewed and approved the concept design in its meeting on 4 December 2014, which was included in the Government Submissions Consent Calendar for the Commission's meeting on 22 January 2015. The dock is part of the National Park Service's partnership with the Georgetown BID in an effort to encourage recreational use of the canal.
The temporary dock would be located on the south side of the canal near the pedestrian bridge at 34th Street. The dock would be 8 feet wide and extend approximately 107 feet along the wood bulkhead of the canal. It would be accessed by a handicapped ramp at one end and stairs at the other end. The surfaces of the dock, ramp, and stairs are proposed to be ipé wood decking. The proposal includes four concrete planters located intermittently between the towpath and the canal; they would incorporate ipé benches facing the towpath.
During its review, the OGB questioned the necessity for the concrete planters as a guard to the lower deck area and benefit of having benches that face the canal instead of the pathway only. They suggested that the planters could be eliminated, making the benches double-sided to face both the towpath and the canal. Without strong objections to the proposed design, the Board offers the following recommendation:
RECOMMENDATION: No objection to final design for temporary dock on the C&O Canal including concrete planters and wood benches as shown in drawings received 15 January 2015.
NOTE: The Commission's action on 19 February 2015 adopted this report and removed the benches and planters from the scope of work.