Dear PoPville – The Government Wants to Take our House

Dear PoPville,

We really need your help. We are the owners of 1544 9th Street, NW. (corner of 9th and Q — I actually think it got one of your horse’s you-know-what awards shortly before we bought it). When we bought the home in October 2010 it had been vacant for a decade, and it had no plumbing, no electricity, no windows, neon green plaster on the outside, and only half a roof. We sank our life savings and a construction loan into rehabbing it and we think this has greatly improved the corner of 9th and Q.

The day before we were finally supposed to move in (summer of 2011), the city threatened to take the home from us through eminent domain because they wanted to annex it onto the three vacant buildings that will be the CG Woodson museum one day. I think I can say that was one of the most upsetting days of my life. We fretted and lost much sleep over it, but eventually prevailed (with an enormous amount of help from our Councilmember — at the time, it was Mr. Evans). Eventually, we received a letter from the Office of Economic Planning and Development, assuring us that the government would not take our house from us. I still have this letter.

Yesterday, someone emailed to me the plans for the Dr. Woodson Museum. The first thing I noticed was that the annexing of our home is still one of the options (and indeed seems to be one of the “preferred” options). This is just so upsetting. Our house has nothing to do with Mr. Woodson — he did not live here, nor did he even live in the house next door. He lived three houses over. If they are interested in simply adding another house beyond the three they already have, they should look on the other side of Mr. Woodson’s house, to the row of still-vacant houses owned by Shiloh, instead of kicking me and my family out of our home.

In sum: we are NOT interested in selling to the National Park Service, and they know this. I thought we were done with this nonsense. I knew rehabbing this house would be a hard project and I didn’t expect any thanks from DC, but these repeated thinly veiled threats to now steal the house they cared nothing for until someone else restored it are beyond anything I could have conjured up.

I think it would be incredibly helpful to have the community express opposition against annexing our house onto the CG Woodson museum.

The comment period with the National Park Service closed but if you are interested in registering an opinion, can contact the NPS at the following address/number, and ask for Alexcy Romero, who is the superintendent of National Capital Parks-East, and apparently intimately involved with the project.

1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington D.C. 20242
(202) 619-7000

Thanks again for whatever you can do. This whole thing makes me feel kind of powerless, but it is good to know people care and are willing to help.

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