Hill Talk: Eastern Market Fund Used on Levee Fixes

Posted December 9, 2008 at 4:14pm

Mayor Adrian Fenty intends to move $2 million slated for a project to reconstruct Eastern Market and use it for the construction of a new levee system next to 17th Street Northwest, between the World War II Memorial and Constitution Avenue.

The shift in funding is part of an effort by Fenty to follow Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations, which call for the temporary levee there now to be reinforced. The levee is set to be built by November of next year, after Eastern Market is scheduled to be rebuilt.

In the spring of 2007, the historic Eastern Market was seriously damaged in a fire. Since then, reconstruction has been slow. Bill Rice, spokesman for D.C.’s Office of Property Management, said the office “has controlled costs and plans to complete the reconstruction without the $2 million.”

Monte Edwards, a member of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee, said the committee has not been given a definitive answer on what will happen to the budget for the reconstruction.

Others involved in the Eastern Market reconstruction believe it will be completed on schedule. A spokesperson for D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D) of Ward 6, which includes Eastern Market, said nothing has changed.

“There is plenty of money in the fund to do everything that has been deemed necessary for the market,” the spokesperson said. “We’re confident that the plans as they have been approved will be done. We’re down to the details that the public can see that aren’t that expensive, as opposed to the details the public can’t see.”