D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, along with 40 members of her executive team and community leaders, recently took a stroll through a Ward 8 neighborhood that has been revitalized and transformed.
The “Ward 8 Community Walk,” a proactive move by the administration, serves as a way to inform the Bowser administration about the challenges facing citizens as the city looks for solutions to remedy ongoing problems.
“It’s good to see the mayor and her team walk through communities so they can see those that are in crisis and see what needs to be done,” said Troy Donte Prestwood, the advisory neighborhood commissioner for single-member district 8A04 and chairman of commission 8A.
While locations vary, Bowser conducts similar walks once a month and has visited each of the city’s eight wards.
The walk began along Good Hope Road and 16th Street S.E. as the mayor chatted with others traveling by foot and visited businesses before making a stop at DCFD Fire Engine Company #15. There, Bowser engaged on-duty personnel and Seventh District Police Commander Andre Wright, eventually inviting D.C. Deputy Mayor of Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue to join the conversation.
After the fire engine company visit, Bowser and her entourage walked two blocks west on V Street, stopping at a rundown boarded-up house that evoked a look of dismay.
“That doesn’t look good,” the mayor said. “Could somebody do something about this?”
Upon arriving at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, she turned left and walked south by the building that houses several D.C. government agencies and which faces one of Anacostia’s storied landmarks, The Big Chair.
Next, the mayor and a few staff members entered the Bank of America branch and then the New Creation Hair Salon Plus where their visit apparently left a positive impression.
“It was nice for her to stop in,” Rae Johnson, a stylist, said.
Gary Wise, who had been standing outside the hair salon while the mayor chatted inside, said it felt encouraging to see Bowser come to the neighborhood before adding a caveat.
“She only comes once a year,” Wise said. “We need to see her more frequently and not when it’s all about her.”
The final stop on the community walk would be Cheers, a restaurant in clear sight of the Big Chair owned by former D.C. Council candidate Dionne Bussey-Reeder. Before entering, Bowser led a wrap-up of the walk, instructing department heads to work on cleaning up the streets and any dilapidated buildings. She asked D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham about Good Hope Laundromat that has been the center of several complaints who shared that officers continue to monitor the surrounding area.
Prestwood, who accompanied the mayor throughout the walk, said it’s time for long-awaited change to come.
“We are waiting for action,” he said. “We want to see ideas translated into results.”