ANC-3C Letter To The National Zoo
Zoo officials made a presentation at a meeting of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 3-C). These are the neighborhoods located to the west of Rock Creek Park and the Zoo. After the Zoo presentation, that ANC passed a resolution calling for preservation of the Holt house and commending the Zoo for its plan to remove the dumpsters.
A letter was sent to Dr. Michael Robinson, Director The National Zoo. The content of that letter follows.
Dear Dr. Robinson:
I want to thank you for having three representatives of the Zoo attend our recent public meeting, held July 28, 1997. Although this ANC has most recently been concerned about the Zoo's proposal for a new trash/mulch facility and its treatment of its former administration building known as the Holt House, over the years there have been a variety of issues with which we have inter-acted.
This ANC is aware that the Zoo decided earlier this month to take a number of actions in response to community concerns regarding the trash facility and the Holt house. We have adopted a resolution which expresses our concern about the trash/mulch facility and commends the Zoo's recent announcement to abandon those plans.
We are especially concerned about the deterioration of the Holt house. We appreciate that the Zoo has taken several measures to stabilize Holt louse. Nevertheless, it is troubling that the most recent (July 9th) press release states that "Zoo officials plan to undertake a feasibility study with regard to the preservation of Holt House. If it is determined that Holt House is to be preserved..." As noted in our resolution, it was the Zoo's plan not so long ago to restore the historic structure and put it to re-use. Anything short of that would be acquiescing in what we consider to be "demolition by neglect." Even today, after years of deterioration, Holt house retains the presence that enabled it to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We urge you to abandon any doubt about whether to preserve the building.
Our position on these matters was adopted by unanimous vote of the Commission on July 28th (all but one Commissioner present). The text of our resolution follows.
WHEREAS: The National Zoo is a significant public facility and important tourist attraction located within and on the border of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3-C, and is partially surrounded by portions of Rock Creek Park that are also located within this ANC; and
WHEREAS: It has come to our attention that the National Zoo has allowed its former administration building, known as the Holt house, to deteriorate substantially, even though this House dates from the early 1820s, was significant in the early history of the District, still retains a sense of its original rusticity, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and
WHEREAS: In the 1973 application for listing on the National Register of Historic Places it was stated that "The approved 1972 Master Plan for the National Zoological Park recommends that Holt House be restored and used as a residence for visiting scholars. The rusticity of the grounds surrounding the house is also to be preserved"; and
WHEREAS: The National Zoo has proposed to continue and expanded its trash collection/storage in proximity to the Holt House (and on land suspected of having been a burial ground), even considering construction of a 40' by 100' storage facility; and
WHEREAS: ANC 3-C has a long record as an ardent proponent of historic preservation and also for the protection of park land even from the development of park-related structures; therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3-C: That ANC 3-C urges the National Zoo, a public institution, to reverse the deterioration of the Holt House, and to restore the house to active use as soon as possible; and further be it
RESOLVED: That ANC 3-C commends the Zoo's recent announcement that it has abandoned plans to either maintain or expand trash collection/storage in the area between the Holt House and the Zoo's border with Walter Pierce Park.
We appreciate that you have worked with the community in the past regarding issues of common concern (e.g., Connecticut Avenue redevelopment at Cathedral Mansions; landscaping improvements) and that you are attempting to be responsive now regarding these issues. Another issue of continuing concern, and which was raised at our July 28th meeting, is Zoo-related traffic and parking. In that connection we appreciate the Zoo's commitment to share a copy of its May 1996 traffic circulation and parking study.
FOR THE COMMISSION:
This ANC includes Cathedral Heights, Cleveland Park, Massachusetts Ave, McLean Gardens and Woodley Park.
ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3-C GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Single Member District Commissioners:
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