Visit to Ward 8 11th Street Bridge Park Project and THEARC
March 28, 2023
On a spectacular spring day, 15 GT members traveled to DC Ward 8 for a guided learning opportunity led by Rahsaan Bernard, CEO of Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR), and Scott Kratz, BBAR’s Vice President in charge of the 11th Street Bridge park project.
We learned about the dramatic 10-year effort to revitalize decaying bridge pilings into a community hub, environmental learning center, play space, performing arts venue, and much more. The project has drawn national attention for its goal of converting old infrastructure into an engine of opportunity for local residents. The 11 th Street Bridge is intended to continue revitalizing a lower income and primarily African American neighborhood, and to connect and engage communities on both sides of the river more fully.
After touring the site of the new bridge, we moved to THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus), which houses cultural, arts, recreational, educational and social services facilities, and is home to 14 area non-profits. Members were enriched and moved by the experience, and several of us look forward to volunteering there later this year.