Library News

Tenley Community Presses Cheh to Build Library Now

From Library Renaissance Project
For Immediate Release: February 10, 2009
Contact: Robin Diener
202/387-8030; cell 431-9254

Tenley Community Presses Cheh to Build Library Now
Deputy Mayor Revised Proposal Adds 2-year Delay

Last Saturday morning, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh held a "Chat with Cheh" at the Tenley Starbucks, where she faced a determined crowd of two dozen neighbors who objected to further delay in rebuilding the Tenley library, closed over four years ago.

Neighbors were reacting to Chehs desire to consider Deputy Mayor Neil Albert's latest iteration of a proposed public-private partnership (PPP) with developer LCOR for the Janney Elementary School and Tenley Library site. Cheh had withdrawn her support for the project last October, citing delay as a prime concern. Alberts belated response is a new scheme that would use library land as swing space while Janney is modernized.

This is a plus, said Cheh, even as she conceded that it would push the new library back at least two years. The library is already fully funded with final plans approved; and the Library Trustees recently voted to move ahead with construction.

Other chat attendees pointed out that delay is inherent in the PPP because of the need to obtain regulatory approvals for a high density residential tower. If LCOR is not building on Janney's campus, there's no need for additional swing space.

This is bit of a red herring, said Sue Hemberger, co-chair of the ANC3E Subcommittee on the PPP. What we get is an uglier library, built later, and an expanding school housed on a shrinking campus. From the community's standpoint, this is a lose-lose proposition."

Cheh listened attentively for 2 hours. In the end, she asked the community to keep an open mind. In return, the community asked the councilmember to commit to a deadline for a final decision. Cheh said she would aim for 30 days after a presentation by Albert's office, but that ANCs might need 60 days for review.

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Robin Diener
Director, DC Library Renaissance Project
202/387-8030; cell 202/431-9254