🏆 Ward 8 residents launch petition to stop Councilmember White's changes to Reunion Square TIF
Advoc8te’s Note: Members of the Anacostia and Ward 8 community have flooded my inbox with concerns and frustration about the ongoing setbacks regarding the Reunion Square Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Feeling as if their concerns were being ignored by Ward 8 Councilmember White, several residents of Anacostia and Ward 8 have started an online petition and requested it be shared on Congress Heights on the Rise. See below for an excerpt from the petition along with a link. Need a refresher of what happened? The Washington City Paper posted this article in November 2018.
As residents, activists and neighbors of Ward 8, we are asking for your support to STOP Councilmember White's modified Tax Increment Financing (TIF) legislation for the Reunion Square project. This petition respectfully requests Councilmember White return to the community he has been elected to represent in order to negotiate a TIF and Reunion Square development project that best represents what our community wants and needs. As our elected representative, we ask Councilmember White to no longer circumvent the Advisory Neighborhood Commission. Doing so is irresponsible, disrespectful and detrimental to our community.
In October 2018, Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced tax increment financing (TIF) legislation valued at $60.8M to support the next stage of the eight-acre Reunion Square development in Anacostia (B22-987, the "Reunion Square Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Act of 2018"). The Reunion Square project was to include a 180-room hotel; a 133-unit apartment building; 250,000 square feet of office space; 13,590 square feet of retail space; a new location for the Anacostia Playhouse; designated community spaces; and, underground parking. With Reunion Square situated in the commercial corridor of Historic Anacostia, the goal of the TIF was to spur economic development including retail, restaurants, and community amenities which the area currently lacks. The proposed hotel, for example, would increase foot traffic to support existing small businesses in the community; every year, thousands of visitors from all over the globe visit the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.
The original project, which had the support of the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, was halted by Councilmember Trayon White in November of 2018. Behind a series of closed-door meetings -- and without community input -- Councilmember White reconfigured the Reunion Square development and cut the TIF amount of this project in half. As stated above, Reunion Square originally included a hotel, office space, retail, an apartment building, and dedicated community space.
The plan, as it stands now, primarily consists of the DC Department of Health and Housing and senior housing. At the direction of Councilmember White, the hotel was removed, retail space cut back, and the financial benefit to the Anacostia Playhouse significantly reduced. Furthermore, the potential TIF incentive was reduced to less than half of the $60M of funds intended to spur development and job growth in the local community. We remind Councilmember White that the proposed hotel had job training, as well as the potential to attract retail and other businesses that would create viable, sustainable jobs and much needed amenities for Ward 8 residents.