Ward 8 eager to see promised development

Officials work to see new arrivals aren’t isolated islands

continued from page 1

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

“This is still a long process,” he said.

Six months into his term, Mr. Gray’s stated the efforts to improve Ward 8 come after years of perceived neglect. The ward had the highest unemployment rate in the city as of April, at 23.2 percent, and has seen the most homicides to date this year, with 14, according to D.C. statistics.

It was also an area of the city from which Mr. Gray drew overwhelming support. The mayor won the ward 82 percent to 16 percent over incumbent mayor Adrian M. Fenty in the 2010 Democratic primary election.

Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, said the community impact of these developments will depend, in large part, on how they are built.

“It can’t be behind a wall,” he said, noting previous developments in the area were near freeway access, bypassing communities altogether.

Mr. Evans said Ward 8 should see progress, but only after about “10-plus” years.

“That’s kind of the pattern,” he said.

The same is true of the area surrounding Nationals Park on the Southeast Waterfront, he said. In his own ward, Verizon Center was built in 1997 and “it was not until the completion of Gallery Place that the area really came into its own.”

Council Member Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat, said historic Anacostia is ripe for development as long as new businesses are encouraged in the area, the city keeps up with business trends and transit is maintained to complement the 11th Street Bridge project that connects the portion of Ward 8 with areas west of the river.

“There’s no doubt in my mind old Anacostia will be like the new U Street,” he said.

To keep residents appraised of developments in Ward 8, Mr. Gray is holding a daylong summit at Savoy Elementary School on July 9.

“I think there’s a lot of enthusiasm at this stage,” Mr. Gray said during a brief interview, noting three community meetings he attended in the ward last week. “Those rooms were packed.”

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks