Blogger Breakfast with Harry Thomas Jr

On August 3rd, Harry Thomas Jr. held a “Blogger’s Breakfast” for Ward 5 bloggers and the Rhode Island Insider was there to hear Councilmember Thomas’ vision for Ward 5 and on current issues. Along with this blog, we were joined by a member of the Brookland Listserv, Totten Life, and InBloomingdale.

The meeting was very laid back and gave us the opportunity to ask the Councilmember several questions about the concerns of residents we hear from. Here are some of the topics (T) that were discussed and some of the Councilmember’s (C) responses (for the focus of my blog, I will mainly talk about issues regarding redevelopment and RIA):

T: Brookland Metro crime and nuisance issues lately.
C: Partnering and engaging the Metro Police to take a more active approach to the issues, not just at the actual station area, but at the bus stop areas (which is their jurisdiction as well).

T: Rhode Island Ave NE
C: Improve the streetscape programs along the Corridor, which he recognizes as the oldest street in America (Route 1). Placed a moratorium on social service developments in the Ward to address the increase the number of halfway houses, etc. Wants to bring a Farmer’s Market to the Safeway Shopping Center to increase the ability for residents to shop locally, nearby.

T: Overlay district for RIA
C: Is interested in an overlay district as a means to attract small businesses (restaurants, etc) to the corridor. He would not commit on proposing an overlay district (such as Neighborhood Commercial), like on H Street, but he did say he was interested in it.

T: Costco/Target/Wal-Mart
C: Is happy that Costco is coming and that it will keep dollars local to DC (notice he did not mention Target, who has not confirmed their store). He has ensured that the wages will be “livable” wages and their will be more restaurants in the shopping center. Regarding Wal-Mart, he said that their is no deal yet with the retailer but he understands the traffic concerns of the area. He said that traffic improvements come mainly with private investment to improve it (such as adding an auxiliary road to NY Ave to access the store).

T: RIA Trolley
C: He mentioned the possibility of bringing a trolley type of system for the RIA corridor so that residents can easily access the new developments at the RIA Metro. Exciting news about this, to say the least.

In regards to what the Councilmember thought Ward 5 was missing were (1) more coalition/partnerships with other Wards and civic groups, (2) more resources – which he said will come with increased partnerships, and (3) more greenspace with development.

The “Blogger Breakfast” was held at the Capital City Diner on Bladensburg Road, which I would recommend to anyone. Good food and a relaxed diner which operates 24 hours on the weekends….plus, its owned by a local Ward 5 resident.

Don’t forget that early voting is to take place at Turkey Thicket starting this Saturday, Sept 4 for any resident who wants to participate.

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5 thoughts on “Blogger Breakfast with Harry Thomas Jr

  1. Thanks for attending and addressing issues from bloggers with Thomas!

    What did Thomas say about Target coming? Costco, we all know is a certainty, but there has been a lot of uncertainty about Target. With Walmart, Thomas clearly must be addressing the New York Avenue location when he says that “there is no deal yet with the retailer but he understands the traffic concerns of the area.”

    The Trolley on RIA just needs the right financing. I got on board one of the newer trollies this part Spring at an expo held at the former Washington Convention site on G Street and they explained in detail how they operate and the schedule for deploying the future trolley lines. RIA is definitely included in the plans. We just have to wait for the completion of the H Street and Anacostia trolley routes. And, the financing!

    I think Farmer’s Market are a good idea, but the quality of these markets vary across the city. If a farmer’s market at the old Safeway on RIA can be of the quality of Bloomingdale or Dupont Circle, I’d be enthusiastic about this. We don’t need another Brookland Farmer’s market. Also, it’s important to make these farmer’s markets affordable for everyone, not just WICers.

  2. RIA Farmer’s Market News

    This was posted Saturday, September 18, 2010 12:43 PM on the Brookland Yahoo Group
    by “stephanie rones”

    Dear Community Member,

    Premier CDC, (PCDC), is investigating the feasibility of opening a Farmer’s Market at Rhode Island Ave Shopping Center in the lot where the Safeway used to be located. We would like your feedback, participation and suggestions. Can you kindly complete this short survey and return it to us as soon as possible.

    1. Would you like to see a fresh produce Farmer’s Market at the Rhode Island Ave Shopping Center parking lot where the former Safeway was located?

    2. What types of produce fruits, and vegetables do you think your community would like to buy?

    3. Would you be willing to participate on an Edgewood/Woodridge Farmer’s Market Steering committee?

    4. Can you recommend any young adults from your community that we can train to set up and operating the Farmer’s Market?

    5. Do you have any other comments or suggestions?

    Name

    Title

    Address

    Phone

    Email

    Fax

    Premier Community Development Corporation (PCDC)

    Improving Housing, Economic Development, and Quality of Life

    1309 Rhode Island Ave. NE Suite B, Washington, D.C. 20018

    ♦ Phone: 202.239-0888 ♦ Fax: 202.269-0136 ♦

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