Plans to redevelop two prominent properties in the district are not going down well with some residents.
The Southwest Farmers Market and other events are held on this land, and a group of neighbors are urging the city to get involved and buy the lots before it’s too late.
“There’s a real sense of community here,” said resident Kelley Gallagher.
“We need a social place; We need a social space where we don’t have to spend $12 on a cocktail,” said resident Coy McKinney.
The atmosphere is electric during the Friday night market.
A group of concerned neighbors say they are banning together, urging city leaders to take action and preserve the space.
“A lot of kids come here, they play around here,” McKinney said.
McKinney said they recently learned that the lots at M and 4th Streets are for sale. He said it jeopardizes the future of important community events like the farmers’ market.
“We also had various trade fairs here. The DC State Fair is here two years in a row,” he said. “We had the 202 Creates Festival here. We had a food truck festival. So it’s a place where the community can gather.”
The property is an attractive investment for property developers thanks to the easy subway connection.
Neighbors say losing the space would leave a huge void in the community.
“These spaces are a place for people to come together and be together and, you know, support small businesses, and, you know, when they go away, there’s nowhere else for those small businesses to go,” said Gallagher.
She’s also worried about the low-income families who rely on the farmers’ market for fresh produce — another reason they’re organizing and urging the city to buy the land and transfer ownership to a municipal estate.
They started a petition that gathered more than 700 signatures.
Next week they will hold a rally to make sure city leaders hear them.
“We’ve seen gentrification and displacement,” McKinney said.
“Just building more expensive housing is not a solution to the affordable housing crisis and that is why we want to actually address the affordable housing crisis and actually we want more than that that we have community ownership of land so that we can determine what happens here more as a for-profit entity,” McKinney said.
The rally will take place there on June 3rd from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m