The Woodridge “main street,” let’s call it the section of Rhode Island Avenue between 18th and South Dakota, is sadly lacking in vibrancy. True, there are bright spots (Art Enables, Rita’s Water Ice, just to name a few), but a number of the storefronts are abandoned, jailed in with rusted-over bars, or are housing obscure religious congregations that do little to spur economic development. The tension here is that this strip of Rhode Island Ave does not reflect the residents who surround this area, but because the neglect is so visible, it acts like a wet blanket on those who might consider it as the next Cleveland Park.
What we need are a few good entrepreneurs like the ones who just opened Boundary Stone 20+ blocks to our west on RIA. We need entrepreneurs like those down at the RIA Metro and over at Colonel Brooks to view the Woodridge Main Street as a serious opportunity to invest in a locale before property becomes too expensive.
But it is a recession (more or less)!
So what. Residents of Woodridge, Brookland, Langdon, Brentwood and Fort Lincoln still need to eat, recession or not. Right now we drive to other parts of DC, MD and VA when we want a slice of fire-brick-oven pizza and a cup of fro-yo. These same residents are also interested in buying a nice bottle of wine (alcohol sales are recession-proof!) from a store that does not transact business through a bullet-proof window. Seriously. And try getting your dry-cleaning done up here… A great many of us are professionals, both young and new to the neighborhood and seasoned folks who have worked downtown and lived up here for years – we all wear some “dry-clean only” and we all need amenities that support professionals! Need a bone for Fido on your way home from Langdon Dog Park? Have fun walking to H Street to get that bone.
Right now there are a number of properties on the Woodridge RIA main street that are for sale or lease, just to list a few: 2000-2002 RIA, 2008, 2010, 2300, 2304, 2310…
What we need are pioneers to join the businesses that have already made the leap. So, thinking of expanding your business to a new location or starting a new one? The community support is here!
If you live in the neighborhood and want to express your opinions on what you would like to see come to RIA, join the Friends of Rhode Island Avenue and take the survey: http://www.friendsofria.org/you-choose