A southwest D.C. advocacy group is pushing for the city government to purchase two parcels that could be transferred to the Douglass Community Land Trust.
SW Action wants the Bowser administration to buy parcels 425 and 375 on M Street SW. More than 100 people attended a rally Friday calling for the purchase and 900 individuals have signed a petition for the same.
SW Action wants the parcels for community-led development, according to a news release by the group. The lots have been utilized for the DC State Fair, Saturday Farmers Markets and Friday Night Markets, among other events.
Community land trusts are nonprofit organizations that own land and lease access to it at affordable and below-market-rate prices for houses and retail. SW Action group members say allowing the Douglass Community Land Trust to oversee the parcels would provide the opportunity for residents to control and steward the property while also allowing the possibility of permanently affordable housing and retail space.
Miranda Chien-Hale, an SW Action member, said the lots were “one of the last remaining undeveloped parcels of neighborhood land and one that is core to our connectedness as a historic community in Southwest.”
“We showed up to express and imagine our vision for keeping this central space accessible and inclusive for everyone — a place where we can gather, celebrate, live, shop, garden, relax, walk and so much more,” she said. “D.C. government officials have an important opportunity to listen to the needs and desires of Southwest voices and support community-led development through the purchase and transfer of the 4th & M lots to the Douglass Community Land Trust. We can work together to develop in a way that ensures the well-being of everyone and protects residents of different races, ages, and income levels in the neighborhood.”