D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, University President John J.DeGioia, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and ANC 2EChair Ron Lewis formally announced the creation of the Georgetown Community Partnership Wednesday afternoon.
The partnership, which will operate on a committee structure and will include representatives from the university and local neighborhood groups, aims to provide a forum for negotiating and resolving key issues between Georgetown and its neighbors.
This development comes about a year and a half after the first submission of the university’s 2010 Campus Plan, which has been under review by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E and the D.C. Zoning Commission. The back-and-forth over the campus plan led the D.C. Zoning Commission to charge the university and its neighbors to find a compromise that would benefit the entire community.
“I’m proud today to be here … and be able to say I think we’ve reached an agreement,” Gray said.
DeGioia and Lewis both emphasized that the larger Georgetown community will use the partnership to address all future problems. Lewis also stated that the initiative will address immediate concerns, such as developing a more residential on-campus environment, and longer-term goals, including recognizing the university’s need for growth and creating more satellite campuses.
“This is an extraordinary event in the life of our community, and it is very promising,” he said.
Gray added that the negotiations between the university and community representatives and the resulting partnership can serve as an example to other D.C. universities in their campus plan processes.
“What they have done is develop a prototype,” he said.
The afternoon announcement followed separate emails from DeGioia and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson sent to the university community earlier on Wednesday.
According to Olson, the partnership will balance neighborhood concerns with the needs of the students and Georgetown’s long-term plans for growth. He also wrote that the initiative will help make campus a social hub and provide more late-night dining options, including on-campus food trucks.
“Making our campus a more comfortable and inviting place to live and socialize is a win both for students and for the local community,” he wrote. “This agreement will allow us to provide more opportunities for students to live and socialize on our campus.”
According to Georgetown University Student Association President Clara Gustafson, the partnership can directly benefit students by giving them a voice in further development of the campus.
“Since students weren’t involved in the negotiation process, it’s important that the policies implement a more vibrant, on-campus life,” she told The Hoya.
Jake Sticka (COL ’13), the current student representative on ANC 2E, also expressed concerns about students’ limited role in the negotiations over the 2010 Campus Plan.
“I believe students should have been represented at this table,” Sticka said of the private negotiations that led to Wednesday’s announcement. “Unfortunately, that was not deemed appropriate.”
According to Lewis, ANC 2E will announce more details about the partnership and the date and time of a community meeting tomorrow.