Case Study

GSA Redevelopment of St. Elizabeth’s West Campus Master Plan
 

Situation

GSA required a Master Plan for the redevelopment of the historic St. Elizabeth’s Hospital West Campus as a high security campus for federal agencies under Development Objectives, including:

  • Achieve maximum federal use build-out while maintaining the West Campus’ historic character.
  • Use the federal development in ways that consider community development goals and objectives.
  • Satisfy federal security requirements in a manner sensitive to neighboring communities.

Project challenges included numerous competing interests such as redeveloping a historic site surrounded by a community concerned with the project’s potential lack of economic benefits for residents as well as possible gentrification and displacement. GSA engaged DP Consultants (DPC) to ensure the community was aware of the project and kept advised of the Master Planning and Environmental Impact Statement process while sensitive to both GSA and stakeholders’ needs.

Solution

DPC implemented a Public Involvement Plan required by the Section 106 process and National Environmental Policy Act. We coordinated media outreach; facilitated the creation and dissemination of information materials; and identified and monitored community and stakeholder issues. To carry out this mission, we conducted extensive stakeholder outreach, including contacting key government and neighborhood decision makers through direct correspondence, interviews, and one-on-one meetings. DPC also assembled a database of organizations and resource centers to facilitate outreach and materials distribution.

We facilitated all EPA Scoping meetings and Public Hearings for the general population with particular focus on the surrounding community affected by the project. DPC secured meeting locations, assisted with event notification using traditional print, radio and public service announcements (PSAs) as well as electronic media, coordinating with government agencies, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, community leaders and neighborhood associations to reach the broadest audience possible; and provided event day support and event follow-up. To ensure interested and affected stakeholders were kept apprised of the Master Plan progress, we structured periodic GSA update presentations to residents at regularly scheduled neighborhood organization meetings and arranged GSA participation in community-based events that highlighted planned development in Historic Anacostia, such as a Town Hall meeting sponsored by US Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. DPC also regularly updated relevant federal and local elected and appointed officials. We also worked with GSA Public Affairs to facilitate interface with citywide and neighborhood print and radio reporters that resulted in positive articles highlighting the redevelopment.

Results

DPC efforts identified key government- and neighborhood-based stakeholders. Early outreach and community input allowed GSA and the Master Planning Team to address issues, create education tools, and meet EPA standards. DPC’s targeted messaging, state-of-the-art communication tools, and District media coordination kept all interested and affected parties informed and engaged throughout the process. Our capacity to clearly identify and understand the complex nature of a multifaceted planning process in the District of Columbia resulted in a project that was well-accepted by the city and the Ward 8 community.