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EXTENSION OF SCHOOL STREET NORTHWEST.
JANUARY 25, 1907.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.
Mr. ALLEN, of Maine, from the Committee on the District of Columbia,
submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 24932.)
The Committee on the District of Columbia, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 12074) to extend School street to Columbia road and connect School street thus extended with Fourteenth street, and to establish a park at Fourteenth street and Columbia road, and the bill (H. R. 14517) to extend School street to Columbia road and connect School street thus extended with Fourteenth street, having had the same under consideration, report herewith a substitute bill (H. R. 24932) in lieu of the same and recommend that it do pass.
H. R. 12074 provides for the extension of School street southwardly from its present terminus to Columbia road with a width of 50 feet, the opening of a street running eastwardly to School street extended to Fourteenth street, and the establishment of a park which, if the bill were enacted into law, would be bounded by the two new streets proposed and by Fourteenth street and Columbia road, which are now public highways. The Commissioners' report on this measure will appear hereafter in this report.
H. R. 14517 provides for the extension of School street to Columbia road and to connect School street thus extended with Fourteenth street. In reporting on this measure the Commissioners state that the extension proposed, except the extension of School street southwardly to Irving street, is not necessary unless a park were established in that locality as contemplated in H. R. 12074.
In view of the suggestion of the Commissioners that the extension of School street southwardly to Irving street is desirable independently of the establishment of a park, your committee recommends such extension in the substitute bill herewith reported, eliminating the park feature as well as the extension of School street from Irving street to Columbia road and the extension of a new street to Fourteenth street.
The bill as reported by your committee makes provision for the assessment by the jury, as benefits, of a sufficient sum to cover the
amount awarded as damages for land taken, as well as for the costs and expenses of the condemnation proceedings, which amount will be returned to the District revenues, as it will be assessed as benefits, and the District of Columbia will ultimately bear no expense for this improvement. The benefit to be derived by the extension of this street will be local, and your committee therefore believes that the entire expense should be borne by property in that vicinity which will derive the benefit.
The extension of School street is necessary and important. As it exists now it is a street with no outlet at its southern end, and its extension will make the public school now located at the corner of School and Lamont streets more accessible for children living in the section of the city south of Irving street, who are now obliged to take a roundabout route in order to reach this school. The Commissioners state that action for the opening of School street should be taken at once, as it is probable that the lots now vacant will soon be built upon. Commissioners' report of H. R. 12074:
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 24, 1906. DEAR SIR: The Commissioners of the District of Columbia have the honor to submit the following on H. R. 14517, Fifty-ninth Congress, first session, “ to extend School street to Columbia road and connect School street thus extended with Fourteenth street,” which you referred to them for examination and report.
A plat is inclosed, showing in red the extension proposed and in green a park proposed by H. R. 14516. The estimated cost of extending the streets is $63,000. The extension of School street to Columbia road and of the new street from School street extended eastwardly to Fourteenth street would only be necessary providing a park were established at this locality. The extension of School street southwardly to Irving street, however, is desirable independently of the establishment of the park. This portion of the extension is estimated to cost $22,000. The bill contains a proviso for assessing such proportion of the benefits, not less than one-half, as the jury may determine. The general policy of Congress and the recommendation of the Commissioners has been that in local improvements the total cost of street extension should be borne by the property owners. This extension is of local importance, except that the school located at the blind end of School street makes the question of more or less general importance on account of the large number of pupils attending the school. This school occupies a lot which, if it were private property, would naturally be liable for a considerable portion of the assessment for benefits.
In House bill 12074 and Senate bill 3528, providing for opening these streets and establishing a park at Fourteenth street and Columbia road, for which bills this bill is in part a substitute, the Commissioners recommended that the total cost of the extensions should be assessed against property benefited. This assessment would be heavy because of the high value of the property proposed to be taken. On account of the elimination from assessment of the area contained in the school lot and the proposed park and the streets surrounding same, the improvements contemplated by these different bills would be of more public benefit than the ordinary street extension, and for that reason the provisions of the present bill regarding assessment for benefits are, after further consideration by the Commissioners, believed to be equitable and are recommended by them. The extension of the street is desirable, however, even if the entire cost should be assessed against private property benefited. If the whole cost is to be assessed against the property, the word "of' in line 5 of page 2 of the bill should be stricken out and the word “all" should be inserted in lieu thereof, and the following words in lines 7, 8, and 9 on page 2 should also be stricken out: "such amount thereof shall be assessed by the jury hereinafter provided for as benefits, and to the extent of such benefits,” and in lieu thereof the following words be inserted: “shall be assessed as benefits.” The proviso in said section after the word “aforesaid” in line 19 should also be stricken out.
The Commissioners believe that the streets as proposed by the bill should not be extended, except the extension of School street to Irving street, unless a bill is passed providing for the establishment of the park referred to. They therefore recommend the following amendments:
On page 7 of the bill insert after the word "act", in line 22 the following: “excepting for so much of School street as lies north of Irving street."
Also strike out the words "Congress shall have passed and the President approved," in line 23 on said page and insert in lieu thereof the following: “after the passage of.”
Action toward opening School street should, if taken at all, be done at once, as it is probable that the lots now vacant will soon be built upon. Very respectfully,
HENRY B. F. MACFARLAND,
President Board of Commissioners District of Columbia. Hon. J. W. BABCOCK,
(hairman Committee on the District of Columbia, House of Representatives. Commissioners' report on H. R. 14517:
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 2, 1906. DEAR SIR: The Commissioners of the District of Columbia have the honor to submit the following on H. R. 12074, Fifty-ninth Congress, first session, “To extend School street to Columbia road and connect School street thus extended with Fourteenth street, and to establish a park at Fourteenth street and Columbia road,” which you referred to them for examination and report.
Two plats are inclosed-one showing on a large scale the streets proposed to be extended and opened, in red, and the park proposed to be created, in green; and the other on a small scale showing the territory lying between Soldiers' Home and the Zoological Park, and showing also, in red, the location of the proposed streets and park, and, in blue, the present public parks and reservations in the territory between North Capitol street and Rock Creek Park, north of R street north.
The bill is somewhat unusual in form, as it combines the street extensions with a park proposition; but in its general features, which provide for condemnation, it follows the usual form of street-extension measures.
It provides for the extension of School street southwardly from its present terminus, with a width of 50 feet, to Columbia road, and the opening of a street running eastwardly from School street extended to Fourteenth street, forming a boundary of the proposed park which would, if the bill passed, be bounded by School street extended, the new east-and-west street, Fourteenth street, and Columbia road.
The proposed park is more than half a mile distant from any present established park. It is located approximately in the middle of the built-up property above the crest of the hill, and is about the same size as Farragut and McPherson squares, though not of the same dimensione, being longer but not so wide. It is, in addition, a fine natural site for a park, as it is already adorned by about thirty magnificent oak trees. Efforts have been made for several years to secure a park at this location, but the park then proposed involved an expenditure nearly double that which would be required to secure the property now proposed for park purposes.
The total estimated cost of the condemnations proposed by the bill for the streets and park is $150,000, $10,000 of which is for frame residences in the line of the proposed extension of School street. Of this total sum, $62,000 is estimated for the extension of School street and the proposed street extending eastward to Fourteenth street. The remaining $88,000 is the estimated cost of acquiring the land for the park, which land is at present unimproved.
The extension of the street and the establishment of the park are both very much desired by the residents of this section of the District, particularly the establishment of the park. While in the city of Washington there are numerous small parks and circles existing at the intersection of streets, in this section of the District, which is outside of the old city limits proper, it has been solidly built up so that no parks exist here. Parks are believed to be necessary for the purpose of public health as well as pleasure.
The Commissioners, while very much in favor of both the park and the streets, believe that they should be provided for in separate measures. The parks in the city of Washington are the property of the United States and were acquired at the expense of the United States. While the Commissioners have always recommended that the cost of extending streets should be borne equally by the United States and the District of Columbia, as other municipal improvements, Congress has by legislation required the entire cost to be paid from District revenues, though the laws provide that sometimes all and sometimes a portion of this cost shall be assessed on property benefited. With parks, however, the Commissioners believe that, as in city limits these small parks belong to the United States, so should they in the outlying districts.
While the Commissioners are in favor of a park at this location, they believe that one which would be of more general benefit should be acquired on the east side of Sixteenth street between Florida avenue and Euclid street. This park, howerer, would cover a much larger area than the proposed park, and the question of this small park should not interfere with the larger measure. The park proposed in this bill is more in line with the existing parks and reservations lying within the city limits.
The bill proposes to assess a portion of the cost of extending the streets on adjacent property benefited by the extension of the streets or the establishment of the park, but makes no provision for assessing any portion of the cost of the park. The Commissioners believe that the entire cost of extending the streets should be assessed on property benefited and that fully, one-half of the cost of establishing the park should be also assessed on property in the vicinity which would be benefited by the establishment of the park.
The Commissioners believe, as stated above, that separate measures should be enacted for the opening of the streets and the establishment of the park, though they believe that these measures should be dependent on one another as far as the establishment of the park and the opening of the street running east from the proposed extension of School street are concerned, as if the park is not established this street would not be necessary. The extension of School street southward to Irving street at least, and even to Columbia road, could stand on its own merits, as this extension is necessary even without the establishment of the park.
The Commissioners suggest, therefore, separate bills, and, further, that the bill when drafted for the acquisition of the park should provide that the park should be acquired by the Secretary of the Interior as, if the suggestion of the Commissioners is adopted, the property would be the property of the United States and not of the District of Columbia.
The Commissioners would invite attention to the necessity for early action in the matter as this section is being rapidly built up, and houses will probably be built on the site of the park and in the line of the proposed street extensions unless action toward acquiring the land is taken at an early date. Very respectfully,
HENRY B. F. MACFARLAND,
President Bourd of Commissioners District of Columbia. Hon. J. W. BABCOCK,
Chairman Committee on the District of Columbia, House of Representatives.