Sunday, June 21, 2009

Leaking or Gushing???

On Thursday, I attended the R.E.E.L. organizational meeting. It was great to meet other young professionals that live in Ward 15 (Ward 7 and 8). If you watched the evening news you wouldn't even think we exist. I'm here to tell you, we are not mythical creatures like unicorns. We exist. We are college educated, working professionals and we are PROUD residents of River East.

I joined the economic development committee. It seemed the common sentiment is that Ward 7 and 8 are GROTESQUELY (my word) under-served by retail that we need and over-served by retail that we don't need (i.e. liquor stores, beauty supply stores, and nail salons). I did some research on the DC Office of Planning website and I found that there was a Retail Action Strategy in progress. Some interesting findings of that study... my commentary in parenthesis...
  • Currently DC residents spend more than $1 billion outside of the District (SAY WHAT???)
  • Many parts of the City are under-served in basic services, retail, and dining (no duh)
  • There is a mismatch of retail in some areas -- too much of one kind and not enough of others (I wonder what the ratio is of liquor stores to grocery stores... things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmm)
  • The District is not reaching its potential in capturing resident, daily worker, and visitor expenditures

In thinking of my own expenditures from the calendar year 2008 (estimates of course)...

  • Groceries: $3000, which 95% was spent in Alexandria, 5% in Ward 7
  • Target: $1000, which 100% was spent in Alexandria
  • Movies: $500, which was spent in Alexandria and Chinatown
  • Cleaners: $200, which 100% was spent in Arlington
  • Dining: $500, NOT A SINGLE PENNY WAS SPENT IN WARD 7 or 8 (ARGH!!!!)
  • Gym Membership: $1000, has anyone realize we have no real membership gyms in River East

That comes up to $6,200 of which only $150 stayed in River East. SHAME SHAME SHAME. Now... what does all this mean? If the District is leaking residential expenditures, then Ward 7 and 8 must be gushing dollars out of this area. Oh the humanity... I think R.E.E.L has a an opportunity to be vocal and at the forefront in getting some much needed retail in River East.

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