As you walk through Adams Morgan, you can’t help but notice the growing number of vacant commercial lots. We have at least twelve empty storefronts on 18th street and another eight on Columbia Road. Some of these businesses have closed shop after operating for less than a year.
We can point to a whole host of reasons why local businesses are struggling: high rent, increased parking costs, decreasing parking availability, crime, and poor communication between key stakeholders.
But this also means that our plan for economic development must be equally multifaceted. There is no single proposal or magic bullet to solving this problem. What we need is a comprehensive strategy, and the ANC can play a powerful role in developing a plan that engages new ideas and new partners.
This strategy must build on our strengths and harness the creativity, artistry and innovation that is resident in Adams Morgan. We have over 400 business which operate in Adams Morgan—everything from law firms to record stores to the 30 entrepreneurs operating at the Affinity Lab. Our community is best served by first empowering the businesses that are here and then attracting other enterprises to the neighborhood.
The ANC should engage the residents and the businesses to identify the community’s economic development vision—one which makes Adams Morgan a livable, walkable, bikeable, vibrant neighborhood with true commercial diversity.
As part of my plan to conduct a community survey, I want to gauge support for proposals to:
- replace empty storefronts with local artwork to showcase our neighborhood creativity,
- create businesses to business mentorship programs,
- create internship programs for high school students,
- holding business development workshops to help companies thrive in this economic climate and in this digital media dependent market,
- move entrepreneurs and retailers into the 2nd floor commercial spaces to increase commercial diversity during the day time, and
- host a farmers’ market for restaurants and residents to buy from local sources.