Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor 04.02.2009

April 2, 2009

To the Editor,

We were astonished to read that from 2005 to 2008, GU spent nearly one million dollars on lobbying for a boathouse in the C&O Canal National Historical Park, as reported in the Georgetown Voice (“$990,000 spent lobbying for boathouse,” News, March 26). When families struggle to pay more than $50,000 yearly for tuition and boarding costs, the University should be focused on the needs of students and faculty, and not on building a private facility in a national historical park that is valued by visitors from all parts of the country.
If approved by the National Park Service (NPS), the boathouse would destroy trees and wildlife habitat and threaten the fragile riverbank and canal berm with erosion and flood damage, while setting an alarming example of private development in parks and loss of urban green space. A massive 75 ft. long private dock will block the route of shoreline boaters. Motorized vehicles and 60 ft. long boat trailers will tangle with hikers, bikers, and other trail users at the gateway to the C&O Canal National Historical Park and the busy, public, non-motorized Capital Crescent Trail.
What did the University expect to accomplish from the lobbying, and is the lobbying continuing in 2009?
We encourage the GU administration to act responsibly by working with the NPS and the public to identify acceptable alternative locations outside the C&O Canal National Historical Park for a boathouse. By doing so, GU will accomplish many goals: provide a facility for their rowing team at a safe, accessible location, as opposed to the narrow, bottleneck national historical park area under consideration; contribute to the redevelopment of the waterfront on land that is already degraded and in need of rebuilding; demonstrate good stewardship of the environment, as well as concern about historic preservation; help to protect and preserve the C&O Canal National Historical Park—in the University’s own backyard—for today’s and future generations of park visitors; and finally, comply with two laws, the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, that ultimately will determine the outcome of the boathouse plan.

Sally Strain, DC Coordinator, Defenders of Potomac River Parkland and Bill Snape, Senior Counsel, The Center for Biological Diversity

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Ed Murphy

Finally, some sanity comes to the Hoya community. Rich rowers trying to shove a building down the throats of the people. I’m glad that our Hoya community is finally coming to it’s senses.