Earlier today, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie announced the establishment of a new 13-member task force to construct a strategic plan for developing industrial land in Ward 5, a swath of the city that includes strips of warehouses on land near a stretch of New York Avenue, north of the Capitol.
The announcement took place at Union Market, also in Ward 5, south of New York Avenue, near Gallaudet University. Union Market has a long history as a marketplace and, according to its website, currently houses 100 businesses and employs 1,500 people.
The focus on Ward 5's industrial land is part of a larger plan to revitalize the city, particularly poorer areas; to increase employment; and to apply sustainable practices, such as mixed-use development, high growth near transit, energy conservation, stormwater reduction and enhanced walkability.
“With the creation of this task force, we are signaling the start of a new day for these often neglected and underused industrial areas,” Mayor Gray said. “We can find better and smarter ways to make them productive not just for Ward 5, but for the entire District’s economy by leveraging the demand for green, technological and creative services in our city.”
The Task Force will look at possible ways to transform these industrial areas, to draw businesses, including green businesses, that enhance the overall quality of nearby neighborhoods.
The Task Force “will assess the feasibility of diversifying the industries using Ward 5’s industrial land to stimulate economic development and job creation,” Councilmember McDuffie said. “Industrial land, when approached creatively, could be the key to a more vibrant Ward 5.”
D.C. Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning will head the new task force, which will include Councilmember McDuffie, representatives from a number of other District agencies and four Ward 5 community members.
The task force is expected to provide a written report to the Mayor and Council by January 31, 2014.