WP: Plans Advance for Florida Market
The DC Council gave preliminary approval yesterday to the New Town plan calling for the bulldozing and remaking of the Florida Market (also called the Capital City Market & the Union Market). The plan, which many have criticized as ill conceived and a favor to special interests, refers to the market area as blighted (an earlier version of the plan requested eminent domain power). Many current merchants oppose the plan and fear, despite promises that they will have a right of return, that this many be the end for their businesses in the market area. The thing about the right of return is that many of these are small family owned businesses, and the expense and ordeal of moving to a new location (likely one outside of the District), and then being given the opportunity to pack up and move back a few years later probably means that many of the business owners either could not afford to return, or would not choose to do so at that point. In my opinion, it almost amounts to a defacto eviction. Recently a meeting was held in our ANC regarding the New Town plan. This is actually quite rare, because, although the boosters have held many meetings in ANC 5C, and other areas, they have largely avoided holding meetings in ANC 5B (which actually contains the Florida Market). The meeting, which was held about a month ago, was a "public meeting," yet it was not advertised by flyer, mailing, or on any area listservs (at least I didn't get any flyer or mailing, and no one I know received one). The organizers also did not inform ANC commissioners (including the one in whose SMD the Market resides). The boosters of this project claim to have ANC support, but this is not exactly true. Though some ANC commissioners did testify in favor of the project, they don't all live close to it (Kathy Henderson, a commissioner who is in 5B testified in favor of the project). Wilhelmina Lawson, the commissioner for the Market's SMD testified against the project. People need to be informed about this project, and that means more than just watching a slick presentation by an even slicker lobbyist. It also means actually going to the market, which is always busy, and seeing what really goes on there.