Catching up after a busy week at the Railvolution conference and wanted to pass along a few news items of interest:
-- An Atlantic Cities piece (which originally appeared on the National Resources Defense Council's staff blog) poses the staggering question "Is Gentrification Always Bad for Revitalizing Neighborhoods?" A significant chunk of the post is devoted to Georgia Avenue issues. Here's a taste:
The Georgia Avenue Walmart, one of four likely to be built in D.C., could unfortunately pose a threat to just the kinds of businesses that the city and residents are hoping to attract and support. An economic impact analysis prepared by Public and Environmental Finance Associates and filed with the city found that “there is every reason to anticipate” that the store “will cause substantial diversion of sales from existing businesses in . . . immediate and nearby neighborhoods, and from elsewhere in the District,” particularly increasing the probability that existing supermarkets could close as a result of lost business. (The report does not appear to be online, but I was furnished with a copy.) Nonetheless, the city’s planning office has found the proposal “not inconsistent” with the city’s comprehensive plan, and is allowing the massive store to go forward, apparently concluding that economic impact is not an issue the office was allowed to consider in the review process.
In other words, if citizens really want a community-oriented process for revitalization, they need the city to fix the planning and zoning process pronto.
More hopeful for Georgia Avenue, perhaps, is a report that the city is considering building the corridor’s new streetcar line, which had been put on the back burner, sooner rather than later. In the meantime, the community development task force has created a history trail and is sprucing up blank walls with murals and empty storefronts with art projects. The idea is to bring a sense of pride and progress that will make the neighborhood more pleasant while helping to attract the right kind of investment. “We do want new people along Georgia Avenue,” one of the task force leaders told Borden, “but we want to make sure that the people who want to stay can stay and shape Georgia Avenue in the way we want.” I'm hoping that the task force will be a strong, responsible, and influential voice as new businesses and people come to the corridor.
-- Prince of Petworth reports that the former funeral home at 4815 Georgia Avenue (next door to the Jones Haywood School of Dance) is being converted to a yoga studio, Golden Heart Yoga DC.
-- DCist reports that the DC Grey Market will hold its fourth event tomorrow, Saturday October 22 from 3-7 pm at 1365 Kennedy Street NW. That's a residential building, which I believe has a common space in its basement, which I believe is where the market will be held.