Today, the Council took a giant step to correcting a longstanding environmental injustice that has plagued our Brentwood neighborhood, and Ward 5 as a whole, for decades.
At the last legislative session, I withdrew the resolution to give the Mayor the authority to exercise eminent domain to acquire the W. Street Trash Transfer Station; however, I did not give up. On December 8, I attended a community meeting hosted by Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) Regina James, who represents the area in which the site is located, where residents enthusiastically supported the removal of the trash transfer station. The very same evening, I co-hosted with Office of Planning a community update on the Industrial Land Transformation Task Force’s Study, Ward 5 Works, where we discussed the legislation and budget funding I have championed to bring community-oriented development to our industrial-zoned areas, including New York Avenue, and tackle environmental nuisances. I also worked with Chairman Mendelson to hold a hearing last Thursday, where community leaders, including Ward 5 ANC Commissioners James and Smith-Steiner, Israel Baptist Church’s Reverend Shearin, whose church is located across the street from the site, and government officials, all voiced support for the resolution and proposed, new use of the trash transfer station’s site.
I was disheartened that this measure did not garner enough support to pass at the last legislative session, but I am happy to report that moments ago, the resolution received unanimous support. In addition to giving the Mayor the authority to exercise eminent domain, I introduced an amendment to clarify that it is not the Council’s intent for DC Water to remain at the W Street site permanently, but rather for a balanced economic development to occur at the site in the future.
I want to thank Councilmembers Bonds, Grosso and Orange for supporting my efforts. They are not only our At-Large Councilmembers, but also Ward 5 residents. Above all, I want to thank the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, civic association leadership and you, the residents of Ward 5, who have worked on this issue for the past 25 years. Removing the trash transfer station, which has been a blighting factor in the Brentwood neighborhood, and replacing it with a clean well maintained facility, will not only enhance the neighborhood values, but also increase economic activity in the areas with the influx of employees seeking restaurants and retail nearby their jobs.
Today’s legislative achievement does not mean the fight is over. Let me be clear: there are additional steps that have to occur in order to remove the trash transfer station. I will continue to engage the community to that end, and work with my Council colleagues to identify real solutions to improve the quality of life for every resident across Ward 5 and the District of Columbia.
Again, thank you for your continued support.
Kenyan R. McDuffie
Published: December 17, 2014