Tag Archives: green wall

Pepco Green Wall On 12th Street Finally Completed

Long time readers know that building DC’s largest green wall in Brookland has been an ongoing project of ours. The idea started back on January 15, 2013, the day I first contacted Pepco. I had the crazy idea to ask if they would be willing to invest in beautifying the 12th Street substation #133. The bare brick wall of the substation stretches along 3/4 on the west side of the 3100 block of 12th Street NE (between Irving and Jackson Streets, NE). Those who are familiar with the wall know it is not a pretty site for the residents across the street and for all neighbors who walk up and down the street.

Finally, on Friday May 19, 2017 the project was finally completed when the native vine, Carolina Jessamine  (which were recommended by the Greater Brookland Garden Club) were planted in the new, recently expanded cut outs alongside the substation wall. Here is slide show of photos which document the transition of the wall from 2013 until today. (You need flash to see the photos, if you can’t see them, click here.)

Four years and four months of careful negotiating, meetings. research and lobbying for support in the local community required a lot of patience and waiting. Many of you will remember when I called out for support with a petition here on the blog to support our project. The overwhelming response from the community for sure made it much easier to make a strong case talking to Pepco.  With that said, I need to mention 2 key players in this process, without whom this project would have never succeeded:

Casey Trees

Mark Buscaino, Executive Director of Casey Trees, stood with our efforts unequivocally from the very beginning. He provided the (sometimes necessary) weight and pull of his well respected non-profit organization, as well as his experience in negotiating with large corporations like Pepco. We couldn’t have asked for a better partner than Casey Trees. After all, their mission is to restore, enhance and protect the tree canopy of our nation’s capital.

 Donna Cooper, Pepco Region President, learned about our request and agreed to meet to learn more about our ideas. The nature and size of our inquiry is clearly not within her usual realm of responsibilities. We owe Ms. Cooper a lot of gratitude in that she spend quite a bit of her valuable time on this project. Unfortunately, we experienced some delays in the process with the team she delegated the project to. But every time we contacted Ms. Cooper she was extremely helpful and made sure the  work on the project was kicked back into gear.

Shani and I have committed to ensure the plants get watered, especially through the hot summer months. Neighbors have asked me, if there is anything they can do to help. There are a few things that could help the “Green Wall” to thrive and become a beautiful feature in our Brookland neighborhood – it will be the collective little things, that will make the difference. First, ever since the first planter boxes were created, we noticed that they tend to “attract” litter. If you are passing by and see any trash in or around the boxes it would be great if you  picked it up. Also weeds need to be pulled whenever they pop up. The more of us keep an eye on the space alongside the trellis, the less effort it is for each individually to keep the space clean, appealing and flourishing.

Brookland’s “Green Wall” Project Finally Becomes Reality

Readers may remember our petition from January 2013  to bring a “green wall”  to the Pepco Substation 133 building on the 3100 block of 12th Street, NE (between Irving and Jackson). Back in April we finally got word that the project was a go. Now we are happy to report that the trellis structure along the entire 12th Street length of the Substation wall has been installed, and portions of the sidewalk have been cut out for planter beds to hold the vines. Now we just have to  wait for the vines to grow! Here are some pics:

We would like to thank the following folks who were instrumental in making this project possible:

  • Casey Trees Executive Director Mark Buscaino. Mark didn’t hesitate to represent the Brookland community to Pepco, offering his expertise and using the influence of his organization,  which added more weight to our case.
  • Donna Cooper, President of Pepco. Donna heard our request to beautify the building in early 2013 and met with us on multiple occasions. All this despite her busy schedule and obviously, much larger issues to deal with, and in the end, she approved the plan.
  • Our 300 + readers who gave us overwhelming support for this idea via our petition. This encouraged us to not give up on this plan over the years, and of course showed Pepco that DC residents pay attention to what large corporations give back to the community.
  • Joe Barrios, former ANC 5B04 Commissioner and an involved and engaged neighbor. Joe’s legal expertise and advice helped us greatly at the negotiations table.
  • Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Councilmember. Mr. McDuffie was the catalyst in the very beginning of this process. He hosted the first meeting with us, Donna Cooper and her team.
  • Mary Pat Rowan of the Greater Brookland Garden Club who  provided her expertise as a landscape architect.

The vines that were planted were Carolina Jessamine, which should look great year-round since they are evergreen and produce fragrant yellow flowers in spring. We are excited about this improvement for our community and hope that our neighbors are excited too!

Pepco Green Wall For 12th Street Finally Confirmed

Mark Buscaino announcing the green wall last night
Mark Buscaino announcing the green wall last night

Many readers may remember our petition to bring a “green wall”  to the Pepco Substation 133 building on the 3100 block of 12th Street, NE (between Irving and Jackson). Well,  we have great news to share! Last night at the Canopy Awards, hosted by Casey Trees, Executive Director Mark Buscaino announced that we should see a “Green Wall” trellis structure along the entire length of the  Substation wall, and cut out planter beds to hold the vines, installed by mid July. According to Mr. Buscaino, it will be the largest green wall in Washington DC. Pepco will install the structure and plant the vines, and overall, the end product is going to be better than what we originally asked for.

Help us turn this wall into a unique green space!
Current Pepco wall

I would like to give the biggest credit and many thanks to Mark, who didn’t hesitate to represent the Brookland community, offering his expertise and using the influence of his organization,  Casey Trees, which added more weight to our case.

Along with Mark, another key person who made this project possible was Donna Cooper, President of Pepco. Donna heard our request to beautify the building in early 2013, listened to our case, and met with us on multiple occasions. All this despite her busy schedule and obviously, much larger tasks and issues she has to deal with, and in the end, she approved the plan.

It has been a long process, which started two years ago when I approached Pepco and suggested that the huge brick wall along their substation needs some green beautification. It was obvious that it would improve the appearance of the building, but also act as a noise buffer and reduce the storm water run off. I reached out to the local community here on the blog and received overwhelming support for this idea, which encouraged me to not give up on this plan, and of course showed Pepco that DC residents pay attention to what large corporations like Pepco give back to the community.

The negotiations went back and forth often with months of delay in between. Design, maintenance plans, plant choice and permits were just a few of the aspects that had to be agreed on and taken care of.

Lastly, I would like to mention two other people who were instrumental in making this project possible.

Joe Barrios and CM McDuffie at a 2013 Brookland event.
Joe Barrios and CM McDuffie at a 2013 Brookland event.

Joe Barrios, ANC 5B04 Commissioner. When we began this process, Joe wasn’t Commissioner yet, but he was an involved and engaged neighbor. Joe’s legal expertise and advice helped us greatly at the negotiations table.

Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Councilmember. Mr. McDuffie was the catalyst in the very beginning of this process. He hosted the first meeting with myself, Shani and Donna Cooper and her team. He requested updates on a regular basis and nudged Pepco here and there to add some very helpful official pushes in the right direction.

This is the most recent design plan provided by Pepco:

Pepco Green Wall Design Plan

We hope to have more plans and updates as the project moves forward this summer. We are so excited that this win-win concept will be brought to bear for our neighborhood.