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Government and People
March 13, 1998
The Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, formerly chaired by Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, unanimously voted Wednesday night to oppose the Mt. Vernon site for a new convention center which Evans has championed since 1991. In a well-reasoned, detailed resolution which fully analyzed the issue, the ANC called for further study of the Union Station alternative which experts say could save the city hundreds of millions of dollars.
Commissioners pointed to escalating costs, which have doubled since the Mt. Vernon project was proposed as well as new reports that further public subsidies are being sought in connection with the project. At a Council hearing on Monday, the Washington Convention Center Authority proposed that another $55 million in public highway funds, economic development dollars, and transportation monies be funneled into the project.
"This boondoggle gets bigger every day," said Gastrel Riley of the Shaw Coalition. "The taxpayers are being robbed to pay for a white elephant that is only meant to subsidize the big business boys downtown." The Shaw Coalition joined other groups in calling for a new hearing on the costs of the proposed convention center and new public subsidies for the project.
Meanwhile, a coalition of 21 civic organizations in Ward 7 voted unanimously to oppose the Mt. Vernon site for the convention center. "It is indeed unfortunate that a majority of the City Council member have again exercised flawed judgment in support of a project which is obviously doomed from the outset," said the resolution of the Far Northeast-Southeast Council, Inc., founded in 1932. "The residents of the City are again being 'sold-out' to the highest bidders..."
The Far Northeast-Southeast Council represents the Benning Ridge Civic Assoc., the Capitol View Civic Assoc., the Deanwood Civic Assoc., the Marshall Heights Civic Assoc., the Northeast Boundary Civic Assoc., the Dupont Park Civic Assoc., the Penn Taylor Coalition of Civic Organizations, the Area 18 Planning Council, and others In addition, the Ward 7 Citizens Reform Coalition, Concerned Citizens of Ward 7, the Fort Dupont Civic Assoc., and the River Terrace Civic Assoc. signed on to the Far Northeast-Southeast Council resolution. The Council can be reached at (202) 388-3843
For more information, contact the Shaw Coalition at (202) 789-7864.