Four representatives of Ward Four Thrives met today with Muriel Bowser to discuss Thrives' opposition to a Wal Mart in Ward Four and strategies for community-led development.
Spokespeople Gerri Adams-Simmons and T.A. Uqdah and Thrives' members Rebecca Mills and Virginia Leavell communicated the groups unmoving commitment to community-led development in our neighborhoods, insisting on stringent review of the Large Tract Review process, which is the only process at this point that the city can impact, and movement on requiring third party environmental and traffic studies. While Councilmember Bowser assure Thrives that "the large tract review process is not one to be poo-pooed", she could make no promises that increased traffic or environmental problems would stop a Wal Mart development.
Bowser agreed with Thrives' over parking, traffic, jobs, and a negative impact on surrounding businesses. Thrives does not believe community input on the design of the Wal Mart is relevant, as Wal Mart's employment and economic impact, as well as physical imposition into the neighborhood are by and large the primary concern to residents.
Bowser made no commitments to the Thrives representatives, save for keeping in touch over the large tract review process.
Ward Four Thrives, as neighbors committed to responsible and diverse business development, argue that Wal Mart it not right for our community, that there are alternatives, like an entertainment complex or more diverse approach, and that the development of the Curtis-Chevrolet site must be more community-led.