By: Imani LaTortue
(Above: Mayor Muriel Bowser promises transparency in her administration to Ward 6 residents.)
WASHINGTON – District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser visits a Ward 6 ANC meeting and tries to ensure residents that affordable housing and locally owned businesses stays are priorities.
During the November ANC 6D business meeting, residents had the opportunity to address their concerns with not only their ANC commissioners, but also mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser.
In Bowser’s opening statement she updated community members on issues regarding affordable housing, education improvements, public safety and working with President Trump since his election one year ago.
“We have been very focused on knowing where we’re vulnerable, knowing the stated positions of the then-President-elect, now president, and how we should be prepared to deal with them and fighting for those things,” Mayor Bowser said.
She further detailed that her office recognizes immigration, healthcare, environmental issues, education, women’s rights and the LGBT community that have matters at the forefront of controversy during Trump’s presidency. Mayor Bowser promised to continue making these issues a priority for herself and the supporting agencies in D.C. government when working with the Trump administration on behalf of the District.
(Above: Residents and commissioners prepare for the meeting to commence.)
When the opportunity arose to allow commissioners and residents to express community concerns to Mayor Bowser, the issue of affordability was a major topic. The status of the Greenleaf housing community as well as the effect of new businesses and restaurants were points of conversation.
Constructed in 1959, the Greenleaf community consists of affordable housing for family residents at Greenleaf Gardens (203 N St. SW) as well as senior citizens at Greenleaf Senior (1200 Delaware Ave. SW). For years there has been a demand for transformation and renovations within the site of the property.
Over the years there have been meetings and overall community support on behalf of these efforts, but residents are disappointed with what appears to be a lack of movement in the process. There is a fear that desertion will subsequently follow. However, Mayor Bower and newly appointed executive director of the D.C. Housing Authority, Tyrone Garrett, assured concerned residents they will maintain transparency and up-to-date information of further developments towards transformations. Director Garrett has been in his position for a little over 45 days and has plans to make sure that new information is provided.
“My idea is that within 90 days of my tenure, I will be able to put out an idea and concept to the board of commissioners of exactly what our strategy will be over the next 12 months.” Director Garrett also said these developments will be made known via meetings with residents regarding these endeavors.
Tori Collins, a Navy Yard resident, said it is important to ensure that “people who have been in this community for the longest don’t feel pushed out or unwelcome.”
Since moving to D.C. from Chicago in 2014, Collins has utilized attending the ANC meetings as a way to get to know her neighbors and understand the dynamics of Ward 6.
“Change is good,” she continued, “but there are also ways to make everyone feel involved and engaged.”
Debra Frazier is a longtime resident of D.C. – specifically ANC 6D – who utilizes her voice as an activist for serious issues. She stands up for the fair treatment of all residents, especially her fellow retirees.
“We are looking forward to more diverse retail,” Frazier said. There have been developments of new grocery stores and diverse restaurants, including well-known establishments, such as, Safeway, Chipotle, etc, but there seems to be a growing imbalance for what is offered to residents.Most of these restaurants are priced out of the budget of working class folks.”
She continued with emphasizing the importance of developers and local leaders being transparent about these new developments from not only a consumer’s financial interest, but also for the possibility of jobs.
Meanwhile, Frazier says camaraderie is a major key, “in the community so that people are getting used to each other and people in neighborhoods are talking to each other.”