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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--Dec. 31, 1997
Residents erect "Wall of Shame" to protest Shaw site for convention center
Shaw residents and small business owners will erect a "Wall of Shame" to protest the proposal for a convention center in their neighborhood at 11am, Jan. 1, 1998, at 9th & M Sts. NW. They say it is shameful to destroy a historic Black neighborhood with a massive commercial structure while the convention center could be built cheaper, faster and better at the proposed Union Station North site.
The 50-foot, full-color "Wall of Shame" includes a 10-foot high tombstone that warns of the death of the Shaw neighborhood if the convention center proposal for Mt. Vernon Square is revived. The project at that site has been stalled for several months as estimated costs approach $1 billion and a study showed that the proposed center would be obsolete soon after it opened, with no room for expansion.
Speakers at the demonstration will include a neighborhood pizza restaurant owner who has nearly been driven out of business by agents of the D.C. government. D.C. officials have threatened him with eviction from his small space in Shaw to make room for the convention center, but they have offered him no assistance to move, as required by law.
Groundbreaking for the proposed convention center at Mt. Vernon Square has been delayed until June, according to government officials.
"They are killing his business," said Eric Gravley, a Shaw resident. "It's bad for our neighborhood, and it's shameful behavior by the D.C. government."
Meanwhile, some D.C. Councilmembers are speaking out against the proposed site for the
center Councilmembers Kathy Patterson (Ward 3), Sharon Ambrose (Ward 6) and David Catania
(At Large) have expressed their opposition to the Mt. Vernon site, calling for serious
study of the proposed Union Station North site. Several Council votes on the matter are
expected in January.
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