Monday, August 12, 2013

This Ward 8 resident is very happy about plans to develop the Congress Heights metro, its about time!

Plans for a new Congress Heights metro
There I said it and I don't think I am the only person excited about the idea of quality retail and commercial opportunities coming to such a high profile location as the Congress Heights metro.  It is such a relief (and long overdue) to hear about a new development project that does not include the the words "group home" or "homeless shelter." I saw the preliminary renderings for the project and they were beautiful. I also appreciated CityPartners LLC and Sanford Capital LLC the development team coming out to the Congress Heights Community Association in May and presenting the information in such an informed, easy to understand, and sincere manner. I found their presentation to be very encouraging.  That being said I could have done without a lot of the posturing and negativity that was going on in the room by some audience members/community leaders but overall it was a very good meeting. I appreciate the Congress Heights Civic Association for making it happen and providing a forum for people to learn more about the project in a respectful manner. 

Many of my neighbors are excited about new quality retail and commercial projects coming to Ward 8. Our overall feeling is not of fear but relief and excitement that we are finally going to see vacant and blighted blocks transformed into vibrant commercial and retail corridors that we desperately need. This is an exciting and happy time for Ward 8 to finally see some economic development occur here. Lord knows it is long overdue. You can not build a successful, vibrant and independent ward exclusively on a foundation of group homes, homeless shelters, and housing projects. We've seen how that has worked out and it hasn't been good.  As crazy as it may sound there are some people who would prefer that it stay that way.  The idea of change and progress is so scary that some people would rather stick to the devil that they know (in this case an economic development wasteland) than risk something unfamiliar, even if it may be better.  I think there is a segment of current Ward 8 residents familiar with their place in today's Ward 8 but haven't exactly figured out how they will fit into the Ward 8 of tomorrow, the Ward 8 that is coming as surely as the sun is coming up tomorrow. It is time to get ready, get prepared, and get involved in a productive manner. 

For those people who are afraid or who are skeptical I do have sympathy. I do understand their concerns and yes even their fear but the reality is that doing nothing is doing something -- it's just nothing good.  It is high time we get involved in the process, realize that not all change is bad, and that in order for things to get better things are going to have to change. Complaining for the sake of complaining accomplishes nothing but encourages those involved in the process to skip over you.

Personally, I am looking for partners and collaborators. People who are ready to make things happen and have the skills, knowledge, connections, and finances to make it happen. I want to be on a team with them so I can have some say in the Ward 8 of tomorrow, today.  I don't need to show how much of a hard ass I can be by beating up every responsible developer and business owner who wants to invest in Ward 8. I invite those people who open arms and an open heart. There is plenty of room in Ward 8 for new ideas, new opportunities, and yes, even new development projects! 

Mark this Ward 8 resident down for progress! 



@Dcjams said...

Hear, hear, sister.

One caveat -- I would like to see the govt/developers somehow incentivize locally-owned retail establishments in the development. Not that Subway and Giant aren't important, but having a locally-owned coffee shop or yoga studio will do SO much more for building community in our neighborhood, not to mention add some character!

h st ll said...

Interesting. And, I agree that it is an attractive rendering.

The Advoc8te said...


I agree that locally owned businesses are important and should be encouraged always. That being said, having been involved in attracting those businesses to our community the pool is pretty shallow right now --at least for those willing to take a gamble with their limited startup funds on a community with the perception of being unstable or "risky."

Also there are real issues I am seeing with small business owners who may have the will but not necessarily the finances or the experience in opening a small business and keeping it afloat. The only thing worse than not having any small businesses is not having any successful small businesses. Failed businesses send a bad message that the community can't support that business -- regardless of how that business was run. So as crazy as it sounds, sometimes it takes the slightly larger (and better funded and operated) chain retailers/franchises to create a customer bias so nearby small businesses can thrive. At the very least most times they can set the bar at the look an feel of a commercial corridor. "Small" doesn't always = "well maintained" but again I agree, quality small local businesses add to a community's character and flair.

The Advoc8te said...

Besides, how many chain or "big box retailers" are currently on the Congress Heights portion of MLK Ave SE?

Not many.

DaReslnt1 said...

THis really excites me, which is why I was so pissed at the outcome of the small business loan application seminar. I really felt like that asian woman was a plant (yes, I like conspiracy theories)

But I will take it upon myself to go to a SBA seminar on my own time.

Again I am really excited about these plans!

Anonymous said...

BTW, thanks for the "Move my Cheese." Although I first saw this 10+ years ago, it just now motivated me.