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As last week’s cover story from reporter Andrew Giambrone detailed, many residents living in Park View, a gentrifying neighborhood along Georgia Avenue NW, are challenging the redevelopment of the Park Morton public housing development, objecting in particular to plans to reduce the size of an unofficial park located nearby.
“The District wants to redevelop the 12-building complex as part of an ambitious city effort called the New Communities Initiative,” Giambrone wrote. “Its goal is to stem the displacement of low-income residents by integrating them into new, mixed-income developments alongside tenants who pay market and affordable rents, thereby deconcentrating poverty and reducing crime.”
What Park Morton tenants see in the protests against the project is resentment toward low-income people in an area where their neighbors want to preserve amenities without regard for what’s best for public housing residents. The gentrifiers insist that’s an unfair perception.
“What we are opposed to are the hollow promises that the Mayor’s office, Councilmember Nadeau, and ANC Rep Kent Boese have made to try to sell this current plan,” Fishstick90 wrote on our website. “They claim in flyers, at meetings, and emails to constituents that there will be a one-acre park with identical amenities to the current ones. … But the legal documents make no such commitment. … They admitted at the council and zoning hearings that they had no funds set aside for this alleged park, that it probably wouldn’t contain as many amenities.”
Yeah, and Elvis didn’t do no drugs, Twitter user @JerryJonenICLC seemed to say when he wrote, “Resistance to affordable housing always focuses on lame excuses, instead of confronting racism and class privilege.”
But perhaps the most honest reader feedback came from Twitter user @Nehlsie, who penned a series of tweets saying he lived in the neighborhood for six years but moved last year. “This development was an incredibly complicated issue,” he wrote. “And it’s one of the reasons we moved. Density was going to create a cascade of quality-of-life issues for everyone in [the] ’hood.”
He said he supported the development as a concept but acted with his financial interests in mind. “The move for me was pure capitalist decision: can I max profit on a house next to a nine-story [project]? I feel really crappy abt it.”
Imagine how the Park Morton residents feel.