Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Press Release: Ward Four Thrives Demands City Reject Building Permits

For Immediate Release :  Ward Four Residents respond to Approval of WalMart Large Tract Review

City Approves Plans for Ward Four WalMart Despite ANC Concerns
Ward Four Thrives Demands City Reject Building Permits
August 31, 20011
Contact: Baruti Jahi (202) 904-7307

Ward Four residents and members of community group Ward Four Thrives responded yesterday to the Office of Planning’s recent Large Tract Review approval of corporate developer Foulger Pratt’s proposal for the development of a WalMart on upper Georgia Avenue.

 “The choice isn’t between WalMart and jobs. DC should seek to attempt to bring good community partners to our neighborhoods, especially small business that offer good jobs that allow residents to live where they work. WalMart offers none of these things,” says Ward Four resident and W4T member Renee Bowser.  

A resolution passed on June 27th by the ANC4B called for WalMart to “sign a binding and enforceable Community Benefits Agreement that will spell out its commitments with respect to hiring and employment practices, workforce training, contracting, transportation and traffic mitigation, environmentally sound building practices, public safety, small business assistance, community input, and financial support for on-going community programs.” This resolution also included detailed concerns for remedying a potential traffic nightmare.

Brenda Speaks (ANC 4B05) says, “The city’s complete disregard for the ANC process and documented concerns is unacceptable.  A big box disaster like WalMart should not be allowed to proceed without addressing ANC 4B’s resolution on the development. We need the city to take our concerns to heart. We have invested our lives in this community, and what we as elected officials say should matter, and the Mayor’s office should do what’s best for residents, not developers.”

Owner of local chain Yes! Organic Foods Gary Cha says “WalMart will put local employers like Yes! out of business and destroy the decent-paying jobs we create for a few hundred poverty-wage jobs.”

Ward Four Thrives, which has collected over 1300 signatures of Ward Four residents against the proposed Walmart, formally demands that the mayor’s office respect ANC4B’s resolution and refrain from approving building permits for the development. W4T demands a community-led development process that ensures that any large development on upper Georgia Avenue meets the needs of area residents.

“We’ve been steamrolled,” says resident Michele Baskin. “Ward Four won’t be bullied into allowing this unwanted development.  We need community participation in neighborhood development in order for businesses and job seekers to truly thrive”

Ward Four Thrives is organizing residents to call the offices of Muriel Bowser and Mayor Gray, as well as organizing demonstrations at upcoming public events to be held by both Bowser and Gray. Ward Four Thrives has also called on ANC4B to pass a resolution against a WalMart on the Georgia Avenue site.

Ward Four Thrives is neighbors, business owners, and allies committed to community-led development in Ward Four.

More info at, on facebook, and twitter @ward4thrives

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