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What you said about what we said last week

Eugene “Thunder” Hughes and his 14th Street NW youth boxing gym, which has weathered decades of change on the corridor, were at the center of last week’s cover by Chris Opfer. Arturo Sandoval commented, “This is a great article. I’ve long been curious about the yellow building on this block of 14th and the older man in the wheelchair I’ve seen outside the place. Kudos to Mr. Hughes for his decades of commitment to the city’s at-risk kids!” Brenda Jones wrote, “A very touching story of a man who has unlimited compassion for youth/people ‘in-need’ and has the courage to take a stand. I hope this new administration will offer resources and support to continue this needed facility for those ‘in-need’ of guidance and resources.” Commenter Big Daddy pointed out that, according to the Office of Tax and Revenue, Hughes owes more than $42,000 in property taxes: “Why not do like the Central Union Mission — take the money and be free to operate without the threat of tax sale.” While Hughes says his tax bill is related to the loss of the gym’s nonprofit status, an oversight he’s seeking to rectify, it’s true Central Union Mission left 14th Street NW in part to secure its financial future. After selling the building for $7 million in 2013, the shelter moved to the old Gales School near Union Station. Luxury condos and retailer Shinola will soon occupy the building.

Streetcar That’s Desired

In his Housing Complex column, Aaron Wiener made the case that while H Street NE may not need the troubled streetcar to succeed, Benning Road does. “Pretty spot on article,” commented Spirit Equality. “Benning definitely could use the development that has traditionally sprouted up along new streetcar lines. And [Washington Post columnist Clinton] Yates and other observers commenting on the streetcar have indeed only spoken on H Street, not Benning (a particularly shocking oversight for Yates, a D.C. native). I’m pulling for the streetcar down H and Benning to actually run and hopefully eventually to extend down to Minnesota Avenue metro station, which is also next door to the Department of Employment Services and new housing development at Benning and Minnesota. The X2 is always packed by the time it gets to H, thus it’s clear to me that another transportation option is needed to lessen some of the stress/usage of that line.” SWdc countered, “how about another X2. what about 2 more X2s. understand how mush less expensive that would be. true it’s crowded, but another X2 would serve the same purpose (if not better) – but I like the streetcar…” loki5586 disagreed with the column’s premise: “Eye roll… Can we stop with this childish fallacy as ‘streetcars as development device’? I mean, for gods sake, can streetcar fans be any less transparent. You want to encourage development there? Great, give a 5 year commercial property and sales tax moratorium along that corridor. Based on current city reciepts, it would cost the District about 20-25 million over the 5 year period, and development would flourish like wildfire… But no…we had to spend 200 million dollars on a poor transit system that sometimes moonlights as a weak ‘kinda sorta’ economic engine. Use the economic development tools that we know work, that have been used time and again and are always successful, rather than building some shiny thrice priced machine for the blinkered urbanist crowd.” Check out Wiener’s column to read the other 45—and counting—comments.

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