The Yards Park, through redistricting, has now become part of Ward 8. (Courtesy photo)
The Yards Park, through redistricting, has now become part of Ward 8. (Courtesy photo)

Former residents of Ward 6 who reside in the Navy Yard vicinity appear not to be overly concerned about becoming a part of Ward 8 as redrawing the boundaries for advisory neighborhood commission districts takes shape.

Jared Rothstein has lived in The Yards Park neighborhood for three years. Rothstein told the Informer that he knows little about his neighborhood’s shift from Ward 6 to Ward 8.

“I have read about it in the headlines and I have heard my neighbors talk about it some, but really I don’t know what’s going on,” he said, standing in front of the Bluejacket microbrewery and restaurant on Jan. 23. “I really haven’t looked too deep into what this is all about.”

In the 2021 redistricting process undertaken by the D.C. Council, the Navy Yard area became the newest portion of Ward 8. For many years, Ward 8 sat exclusively east of the Anacostia River.

The new western boundary of Ward 8 lies on the eastern side of South Capitol Street for several blocks. Nationals Stadium, the Yards Park and the residential buildings in the neighborhood along with the retail and restaurant within the immediate area are now in Ward 8.

Rothstein and his neighbors are a part of the second phase of the redistricting process, redrawing commission district boundaries. The districts must have a population of 1,900-2,200 people. According to the 2020 census, the Navy Yard neighborhood has 11,036 residents. Added to Ward 8, the Navy Yard area could shrink the Black population of the ward from 91.84% to 78 %, D.C. Office of Planning estimates say.

In Ward 8, the redrawing of the boundaries process has started with Brian K. Thompson, the commissioner for district 8A03, as the chairman. D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) asked Thompson to lead the commission.

At a virtual meeting of the Ward 8 commission redistricting committee on Jan. 19, Thompson said new boundaries have to be drawn for the five Ward 8 commissions (A-E) and incorporate parts of Ward 6’s D and B. The group agreed to accept maps drawn by residents and to meet for the latest proceedings and updates on Feb. 2, Feb. 16 and March 2. The vote for the final map by the committee will likely take place on March 22.

Thompson stressed the meetings are open to the public and encouraged the input of their new neighbors.

Ward 8 is OK, New Residents Say

Like Rothstein, Sari Edelman confessed that she didn’t know much about the change in wards her neighborhood underwent.

“I have to be honest with you, I just don’t know what is going on,” said Edelman, walking her pet at the dog park located at Yards Park. “I am new to Washington, D.C. This is a nice area to live in and I would like to stay here for a while.”

Edelman joined dozens of people walking their dogs and baby carriages at Yards Park on the cool Jan. 23 evening. Whites comprised the overwhelming majority of walkers including Heather L. Lawrence, who approached the intersection of 4th and Water Street SE with her dog.

Unlike Rothstein and Edelman, Lawrence knew about becoming a Ward 8 resident. She voiced no objections to the change.

“I would like to know what becoming a Ward 8 resident means as far as city services and programs are concerned,” Lawrence said. “The people who live in this neighborhood don’t have the same economic and public safety concerns that people across the river have. For example, I know Ward 8 [east of the Anacostia River] has a dearth of sit-down restaurants. That is not an issue here. But I am encouraged by the mayor’s programs to facilitate more restaurants being built in Ward 8 through the uses of city grants.”

Corrie Clark, a Black resident of a residential building, also said she has no problem becoming a Ward 8 resident.

“I am just fine with this neighborhood becoming a part of Ward 8,” she said, walking in the area with her male friend. “There is nothing wrong with Ward 8. I have no problem going across the river to do what I need to do. My new neighbors across the river, of course, are more than welcome to come here.”

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

Join the Conversation

3 Comments

  1. I live in Ward 6, but not in the part that will move into Ward 8, but I have concerns. The Mayor (so I have heard) will be offering city grants to Ward 8 now because of the new boundaries. I, as a white woman, and not comfortable going across the river and I never go alone. Like it or not, there IS reverse prejudice in this city – especially in Ward 8. Until that is resolved, there will always be inequities in one way or another. Most of those interviewed said they had no idea what was going on or what it meant to move Wards…they are not interested and will likely not contribute to or benefit from the change.

    1. The inequities you are experiencing are again why when moving to DC you should do research. If you as a white woman are not comfortable coming across the river..DONT…please know we are so tired of people like you..scared for no reason and spewing out comments based on your fears. There are plenty of white people..coming across the river..actually in Anacostia we have seen homeownership among whites go up. Just because you are scared doesnt mean anything..Crime is all over the city. What you should be asking is why are YOU scared…I mean crime happens everywhere..You should have looked at demographic data prior to moving to DC so, if you think you’ll get a pass because you are a white woman or special treamtment again outlines the issues that people like you continue to push forward. ALL STEREOTYPES..and RHETORIC…and youre not even moving to ward 8 and still complaining…

  2. When I bought a new home on 22nd St.SE, 43 years ago, East of the River, it was in Ward 6. The boundaries are expanded or contracted based on the census.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.