What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ward 4 Vulnerable under current elected leadership on economic development possibilities.

The vulnerability of  Ward 4 and it’s economic development hinges on two things.  Current trends that must consider crime given that it is summer and generally we trend up in robberies and some other more severe crimes.  As well as the over all power of the process.  This process as I would like to call it.  Includes the negotiating power and awareness of who represents us.  Given any ward and the boundaries that this elected official must work with.  There are always limitations.  Having said this,  if you read some of today’s editorials it is clear that the Gray Administration is pushing for much badly needed development east of the river.  There’s power in numbers and clearly Ward 4 might be running shy of the many powerful people the mayor has in place and the other members of Council that live there.
Priorities are clearly there and not Ward 4. Has enough been done to project Ward 4 needs into the mainstream of development at the District level?  It is doubtful given the small amount of development we have seen in the last 4-6 years.  Notwithstanding the addition of Park Place, and a couple of other developments closer to the Petworth Metro stop,  most of upper Georgia Avenue, looks exactly as it did when our council seat changed hands.  The newly elected has done little to inspire new business owners from bringing their good and or services to our neighborhoods.

Ward 4 currently has some growth potential with projects that are on the table.  But clearly, the most important element as it is perceived rests in the laurels of what will happen with the Walter Reed Army Hospital area.  This massive new availability of land can offer upper northwest,  Georgia Avenue,  and Ward 4 a great opportunity to make it’s mark in shopping,  restaurants and services.   Although I have not viewed the plan, I suspect that it will be missing some conceivable important elements that have either been over looked or simply not thought of.  I hope I am wrong and that we will see a complex approach to this large tract of land.

Walter Reed revitalization should first begin with a mini mall that would include small businesses offering viable services and products that the community would want to have available and close in.
Easy parking should be one of the first things that tops the list.

I think also vitally important would be to have a recruiting team working on possibly bringing new Doctors and dentist to the complex.  Great location and these two entities are solid ways to bring successful small personally owned practices where often the owner/Doctors would also want to live near by.  Possibly a working relationship with the Washington Hospital Center for a mini expansion of some of their services.  Or specialty clinics. Some of which are geared around older patients,  diabetes, hypertension and other areas of medicine as related to citizens that live here.  If this is not in the planning stages already then we are missing the boat.

Secondly,  I would very much like to see a small boutique hotel established  on the grounds.  Offering a very personalized friendly atmosphere where guest could come, visit and enjoy themselves to the level of returning home to middle America to talk about the hospitality. I think there are already buildings on the premises that would accommodate a great idea wonderfully.  But there must be standards set in the initial planning of such an idea.  It needs not be another Marriott as there are already a run over of such properties in the District.  We need a boutique style hotelier to open their doors with fresh ideas, and to employ District residents that both want to work and are deserving of employment.

Finally,  we need an anchor store that would draw enough visit’s a day to be entertaining to those thinking about shopping.  The small businesses is a way to bring neighborhood people in constantly,  but a larger anchor style store that perhaps offers lots of variety of things for the home and life would be a great asset.  I am not thinking of a Walmart as much as I am a Khol’s Department store or something mid level in prices point but with service and perhaps national tie in.

Thursday night’s meeting will clearly demonstrate the power of how Ward 4 will stand in the coming months and years with over all projection of growth,  development of small businesses and clear participation of or advancement of the trend to move forward.  I for one am anxious to see how this happens and stand ready for my chance to participate with many ideas and concepts as both a small business owner,  and one with more than 25 years of luxury retail experience in both sales, management and services.

It's a true test of abilities and at such a crucial time with a sluggish economy,  growth sure to come east of the River,  and the land becoming available very soon.  Time will surely demonstrate just how much work and expertise has gone into the planning and thought process and exactly just how much leadership as well.

If you read this carefully and consider the possibilities of stale offerings of the currently elected it will become more and more clear that there simply has been no plan in place, and the level of experience in how best to  move this Ward forward is non existent.  Using nasty negative mannerisms and associates hiding behind false identities is no way to prove oneself as a leader.  Supporting those that put more effort in destroying rather getting to work rolling up your sleeves to get something accomplished is the path we have been experienced. I will roll up my sleeves and confide in many residents and business owners alike and move this ward forward with a plan that will bring fruition to the many things that we need done.

Keith Jarrell

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