Article by Duane Gautier, photos by Andrew Lightman
I have just reviewed the latest white paper from the Urban Institute on how to regenerate the economy and solve the problems in Wards 7 and 8. This
report for City First Bank, with no new ideas, adds nothing to the more than 20 such “East of the River” studies by think tanks, urban planners, and government agencies over the past 30 years. None of the plans and very few of the recommendations of these reports have ever been implemented.
The following are some approaches that might just work. I am going to confine my suggestions to the Greater Anacostia neighborhood, the area where I have worked over the past 30 years.
The District of Columbia’s government needs to care about the physical appearance of Anacostia. Noting states “depressed area” more than patched streets, poor or no public lighting, crumbling brick sidewalks, and filthy streets. Compare the almost pristine conditions of the public areas and streets of Georgetown or Capitol Hill with those in Anacostia.