Town Square Adds New Dimension to Nauck's Renaissance

(Thursday, May 29, 2008 5:47 AM EDT)
Revitalization of the Nauck neighborhood has been in the works for about four years, and now that the Town Square has been completed, community members and activists want to keep the ball rolling.

“Being a lifelong resident of Nauck, it's nice to see something we can hold onto,” said Nauck Civic Association president Portia Clark in a recent interview. “Progress is being made. . . We're not letting developers roll us over.”

The square, which officially opened on May 10, is located on the block bounded by Shirlington Road, Kenmore Street, 24th Road South and 24th Street South.

It features an open green space and a paneled arch structure with photos and information all about the history and culture of the Nauck neighborhood. Topics covered include the neighborhood's origin, schools, recreation, churches and more.

“It's wonderful,” said Nauck Civic Association secretary Frances Walker. “It's exciting to see all the names and the history.”

The hope is to install a display case for temporary exhibits that would highlight different aspects of the neighborhood.

The Town Square also is being used for numerous outdoor events and activities, including a monthly flea market and bazaar (held every third Saturday), family movie nights and more.

The Town Center's coordinators are open to ideas for future events and ask neighborhood members for their input.

“We want to engage the community,” Clark said.

Although residents and activists are excited that the Town Center is open, they are determined to keep the Nauck revitalization going with the construction of new residential and commercial buildings.

“The Town Square is the tip,” Clark said. “There's still more change to come.”

County government officials in 2004 adopted a 112-page plan for the revitalization of Nauck, which is located between the growing corridors of Columbia Pike and Shirlington. The plan envisions development of up to eight stories along Shirlington Road.

The historically black community dates to the years immediately after the Civil War, when some residents of Freedmen's Village moved there. In 1874, John Nauck Jr. purchased 46 acres of land and began subdividing it.

For more information, call the Nauck Town Square Organizations at (703) 486-0058.

County Board Chairman Walter Tejada joins members of the Nauck community in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the community's Town Square on May 10.

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