(photo courtesy of AEDC website)
Earlier this week, I sat down with AEDC's new president, Stan Jackson, now finishing up his second week on the job. Jackson certainly brings a decorated resume in city government: He's served as chief of staff to the chief financial officer, director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, and most recently acting president of the University of the District of Columbia. Jackson says he needed a lot of persuading before he stepped out of semi-retirement to take over AEDC. In our conversation, he discussed the need to bring changes to the troubled organization, as well as some hopes and dreams for the neighborhood, from international retail to a hydroponic garden. Here's a lightly edited transcript:
What's Anacostia’s most pressing need when it comes to development?There are a number of needs. One is obviously for infrastructure. I think there’s also a need to integrate human capital development with the transition. I think retail and commerce as well as housing. I think clearly there needs to be some combination of more for-sale experiences in not just Anacostia but Ward 8. What excites me about Anacostia and east of the river, in particular Ward 8, is that you only have three major commercial corridors here, and they’re all connected by the same “spine,” which is what I call Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, which connects Anacostia, Congress Heights, and Bellevue. So we have an unprecedented opportunity to do something that could be so iconic, such a “wow” factor, that it transforms this side of the city.
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