D.C.'s Historic Preservation Review Board To Determine If Barry Farm Will Be A Designated Historical Landmark

November 4, 2019
Barry Farm neighborhood.

Photo courtesy of Deborah Labidou

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Anacostia's Barry Farm housing complex has been at the center of controversy for years concerning planning and further development.

Recently, D.C.'s Historic Preservation Review Board heard testimony from DC Housing Authority and those applying for the designation on whether or not Barry Farm -- which has been around since the 1940s, was home to freed slaves and helped birth go-go -- should become a historic landmark, according to Washington Business Journal.

Activist group Empower D.C. and the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association have been known proponents of the designation, while others find that the move would halt current efforts to build more affordable housing on the property.

A Preservation of Affordable Housing executive Anthony Waddell views the possibility of the landmark desgination as a "substantial loss." He said that perserving the current complex, which has just 32 bulidings, would not allow land to be developed into another 400 of 1,000 planned housing units, according to The Washington Post.

While the final decison and vote has yet to be made in order to designate the site, the Historic Preservation Review Board will hold another meeting on December 5.

"The proposed demolition of the remainder of the buildings left on the site was put on temporary hold when the landmark designation application was filed, and that status remains. There has been no Board action yet, so HPRB has had no impact on redevelopment plans at this time," according to DC's Office of Planning.

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