Tuesday, April 01, 2014

? of the Day: "Can east of the river prosper while there are 'better' options west of the river?"

Admittedly this is an overly broad question but I would love to hear reader thoughts. As long as there is land to be developed west of the river can we really expect east of the river to have a legitimate shot at quality development, housing, retail, and jobs? Can Ward 8 really expect no other investment other than job training programs, low-income rental housing and social service providers?

As someone who works toward true economic development east of the river even I have to ask myself, "Are we fighting a losing battle?"

Does every new west of the river development project and funding opportunity put east of the river farther behind D.C.'s economic development plan?



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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few days ago you wrote about Relisha Rudd's mother. An excellent post, but that in of itself, exemplifies why beneficial economic growth and development has not reached east of the river. While there are a great number of smart, motivated, and successful people in that community, there are still far too many just like Relisha's mother who lack the desire, courage, motivation, or know how to contribute to the betterment of their community. Unfortunately, that is the image people see when they look east of the river. Once they begin to understand there is more to the world than government handouts, getting high, and the latest timberlands, you may start seeing the change you are working so hard achieve.
Just my two cents from an outsider who spent the last 10 plus years working in ward 8.

Anonymous said...

It is Spring, so I refuse to dispair! I think that economic development is making inroads EOTR. We could certainly wish it were faster, bigger and more widespread. But, it is happening. Sure, it would be great if residents EOTR could speak with one united voice on the matter. Unfortunately, some are so afraid of the 'g' word that they can not give their unmitigated support and voice to the effort to bring economic revitalization to the area. I see that as a change that will have to be gradual. Then, of course, there is the political will to make development EOTR a real priority, and not just a means of rewarding politically connected developers- their interests may not always align with the real economic development interests/goals of residents (especially, homeowners) EOTR. But, its Spring! Change is gone come!

i heart newcomb said...

I think change is around the corner. The proximity of EOTR to downtown is the major advantage that will attract investment. I know people aren't convinced that the big developments are doing much for the community, but even the minimal exposure people are getting by working in the neighborhood in Fortress America is a starting point. There will be people, who will look around see all the nice brick buildings and tall old growth trees, and say hmm this doesn't look half bad. They'll look at the prices of houses and say I'll have broken even if not made money in the process even if I change my mind. And they'll go ahead and purchase a place here. I did and I tell my coworkers all the time about how much I love my house, how affordable my mortgage is, how friendly my neighbors are and how short my commute is. All of these factors lead to our parts of the woods becoming a more popular place than it is currently is. Investment and amenities will follow suit. It's not a zero sum game. Our neighborhood offers a different product. Currently property in Congress Heights is still affordable for middle class families unlike the rest of DC. In the future it may no longer be. Then we'll be trying to slow down developments.

Unknown said...

+1 i heart newcomb

Anthony Gualtieri said...

My longer comment was erased by my technical stupidity. While I am glad that I Heart Newcomb and the Adoca8te purchased in CH, housing prices in Congress Heights are quite high. Relative affordability is not a good measure. I do salute your positivity and mythbusting...see first comment in the thread for reason that is critical. Concerning econ. dev., Poplar Point is the highest value property able to be developed in Ward 8. The rest of the riverfront property is owned by Fed and DC gov and will not be transferred anytime soon. Blue Plains and JBAB are not going anywhere. I guess DC Village COULD be developed and so could/will UMC but neither are in CH. History is an excellent predictor of the future. Where will the social service compounds be built to replace the old ones? In a diffetent part of the state through backroom deals between elected officials? Right, I forgot DC is surrounded by states but isn't one. PGC, especially southern PGC, is NOT trying to take more low-income residents from EoR. VA and MoCO are not even close nor in anyway want to deal with affordable housing any more than they are. The logic of proximity to downtown etc for purposes of investment holds. It holds for companies requiring proximity to power/fed. funding BUT even with tax incentives (see 2012 city council legislation for HVTCs) etc Gray et al couldn't get more than non-binding agreements from Microsoft (already waaaay up Wisconsin Ave) and others. Concerning the first comment, I too am an "outsider" who has worked in W8 over a decade and continue to do so. Let's agree to disagree with what you wrote. It is anecdotal and patriarchal.

i heart newcomb said...

I love that you used the word patriarchy in your comment. I am usually the first to use the patriarchy card in discussions--just ask my friends! :)

Although I don't see middle class ladies such as myself being particularly patriarchal in nature, I understand the sentiment of your comment. The city has a serious poverty/housing problem and needs to find a more sustainable and empowering way to assist residents who need help. No one believes that question has been resolved. City leaders have been fumbling around with that issue and others for what appears to be time eternal (DC public schools, anyone?). That lack of vision from the top doesn't mean the city should use EOTR as the receptacle for all of DC's social services nor does it mean that market forces aren't affecting neighborhood dynamics from the bottom up. I don't disagree with what your saying at all. I just think we're talking about different parts of a broader question.

I agree my comments are anecdotal, but, at some point, trends reflect the culmination of anecdotes. How I found my way to CH may not be typical, but it doesn't mean it's a unique experience. In a neighborhood this size, some might call it a growing trend.

Anthony Gualtieri said...

I Heart Newcomb, I was referring to the comments made by Anonymous :)
I only mentioned your experience to say that relative pricing is well...relative :)