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D.C.’s Barry Farm Designated as Historic Landmark

By a unanimous vote, DC’s Historic Preservation Review Board on Thursday designated a portion of Barry Farm on Stevens Road in Southeast a historic landmark.

The designation, which encompasses five buildings, makes the landmark boundary much smaller than the area originally outlined in a nomination last April by the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association and Empower DC. The 375-acre Barry Farm in Anacostia, established in 1867 by the federal government, over the years evolved into a public housing site.

“Although we were hoping for a more significant designation, I can’t wait to see whole property complete with a Barry Farm museum that represents the full vision and input of Barry Farm residents,” Detrice Belt, president of the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association, said in a statement.

Daniel del Pielago, Empower DC organizing director, added, “throughout this process, we have been asked to compromise our true vision for this historic landmark, and this proves how little weight is given to community input in projects that involve the mayor and politically connected developers.”

After twice postponing a hearing on the designation at the request of the DC Housing Authority, the board seemed persuaded that Barry Farm should be landmarked after hearing nearly four hours of testimony last July, but it lacked a quorum to vote.

The Barry Farm Tenants and Allies Association, Empower DC and their supporters have vowed to see this process to the end, ensuring that the rich history of the significant DC neighborhood is preserved and that a development that benefits its residents is delivered.

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