Leaders in Ward 8 say they’re looking forward to people who live in the eastern portion of Ward 6 becoming their neighbors as a result of the redistricting process.
“It’s simple arithmetic,” said Markus Batchelor, who represented Ward 8 on the D.C. Board of Education from 2017-2021. “There are ways this could go as far as redistricting is concerned. Ward 7 could move deeper west into the Capitol Hill area in Ward 6 or Ward 8 could move further north into Ward 7. The best area for Ward 8 to pick up across the river, in my opinion, should be the Navy Yard neighborhood.”
Batchelor’s view that Ward 8 should acquire the Navy Yard during the decennial census redrawing of the ward boundaries has been articulated by other ward leaders both during recent meetings of the Ward 8 Democrats and the D.C. Council’s subcommittee hearing on redistricting.
Ward 8 leaders have also expressed interest in Ward 6 neighborhoods including portions of Southwest, The Wharf and the Capitol Riverfront becoming part of their ward. Ward 8’s population must increase by 3,370 residents for it to become equitable to the other wards when the subcommittee submits its redistricting plan to the full council for approval in December.
The New Ward 8
Salim Adofo, the advisory neighborhood commission chairman for 8C, said the new Ward 8, when redrawn, will still be a majority Black ward.
“Blacks will retain political power in Ward 8,” Adofo said. “There are some people in Ward 8 who are concerned that adding areas of Ward 6 will spur gentrification. I disagree. Gentrification will happen no matter how the boundaries are drawn.”
Adofo has drawn up a map of how he would like the ward to look after redistricting which incorporates The Wharf and the Navy Yard, citing “economic benefits” as his rationale.
While Adofo has one map revealing his ideas, Brian Thompson, an advisory neighborhood commissioner for 8A03, has three options. Thompson’s three maps show the ward including the Navy Yard, The Wharf and the Capitol Riverfront, respectively, with each meeting the equitable population requirement for Ward 8, he said.
“The important thing is that one of these major economic districts should be incorporated into Ward 8,” he said. “Any one of these would be a benefit to the ward.”
Ward 8 Democrats President Troy Prestwood agrees with Adofo and Thompson on bringing economically viable neighborhoods into his ward.
“I support Ward 6 neighborhoods in Ward 8,” Prestwood said.
However, Prestwood said bringing commercially viable Ward 6 areas into Ward 8 won’t solve the latter’s economic challenges.
“Expanding Ward 8 economically will be good but people will still have trouble getting to the grocery store if they are located in the former Ward 6, even if it is in the boundaries of a new Ward 8,” he said.
Prestwood also said lawmakers should consider having Ward 6 pick up Ward 8 neighborhoods such as Anacostia.
“If Anacostia were to become a part of Ward 6, that would be nothing new,” he said. “In the past, Anacostia has been a part of Ward 6, Ward 7 and of course, Ward 8. If the Ward 6 councilmember represented Anacostia, there would be three people who represent areas east of the Anacostia River on the council, instead of two as it is now.”