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Plans are in the works to make the first mile of their C&O Canal at Georgetown more inviting, and as part of that attempt, officials last week unveiled updated theories for the revitalization job at a neighborhood meeting. The National Park Service (NPS) and Georgetown Heritage, a nonprofit, are jointly developing the project with help from the D.C. Office of Planning and the Georgetown Business Improvement District. (Public comment is now open until May 11.)

James Corner Field Operations project Involves mule yard, Enhanced Accessibility, and canal’s historic structures

Last week, officials allowed water to leak back into parts of the canal to check recently rebuilt Locks 3 and 4″in preparation for its eventual recurrence of a reproduction canal,” according to NPS and Georgetown Heritage. Below are the project options that were presented in the community meeting. Funds must nevertheless be procured for the job.

In the C&O Canal, the team intends to”focus on addressing deferred maintenance issues and related safety and accessibility concerns connected with the towpath; improving connections between Georgetown and the [canal] towpath; [and] enhancing visitor experience through enhanced signage and optimizing underutilized areas,” notes a project overview. Following finalizing the concept alternatives, the staff will prepare a required environmental evaluation.

The job is broken down into five chief areas: mile-marker zero in the Potomac River; the Rock Creek confluence; the locks; the marketplace plazas; and the aqueduct. Among the would-be modifications are fixes to the canal’s historic structures, dedicated educational areas, a lawn, and a new visitor center. Currently, several points along the canal aren’t friendly to pedestrians or people with disabilities, and such points will be improved under the plans.

Slides via National Park Service/Georgetown Heritage presentation