It’s hard to imagine how and why the designs for Georgetown University’s new athletic facility would get tangled up in the argument for Statehood, yet it has. Last week, Georgetown University presented new designs for their athletic facility to match the style of other campus buildings. Both the Old Georgetown Board and the Commission on Fine Arts have raised concerns about these designs. For information on their particular concerns The Georgetown Dish has a story with details. My favorite is the Commissioner objecting to the design because it looks more like a residential facility and not like a ‘box’ like athletic building.
What’s important to note is that the Commission on Fine Arts (CFA) and the Old Georgetown Board (a body under CFA) are federal bodies. Founded back in the early 1900s, CFA reviews and approves or denies the style and designs of particular projects which includes buildings and landscape plans. There is absolutely no reason why the Commission on Fine Arts or a subcommittee of it should be telling a private university or any other institution other than federal buildings how they should be designed in the District. This is absolutely a waste of time and money for Georgetown, the Federal Government and the District Government. The District Government should have oversight over this, period. Throughout the District both CFA and the National Capital Planning Commission have needless but broad ranging oversight authority that governs what can get built and how it should look.
As the District has evolved our local government bodies can clearly decide what should and should not get build and what the style should look like. We don’t need nor should we want the Federal Government and their appointees to decide how our city/state looks. Several Commissioners do not live in the District nor are they required to which leads me to wonder if they have the concern of the local citizens at heart, which I don’t think they do. The Commission is outdated and its scope is way too broad. With and through Statehood we would be able to limit their reach and keep their oversight confined to the smaller federal District. L’Enfant’s vision for the District was great for its time and the layout has served us well, however, it’s time to stop living in the past. We need to break free of the Federal chains that restrict us, maybe we’d enact more liberal designs restrictions or more strict restrictions but the point is that we should make the rules that govern our development.
Such a minor issue as the design for an athletic facility on a private college campus should demonstrate to us all that we need to move forward and break free from the restrictive policies of the past. The time for self-governance, the time for full and equal representation, and thus time for Statehood has come.
Hoya-Saxa! Onward toward Statehood!