Greg O'Dell of Events DC discusses plans for the construction of the entertainment and sports arena with Ward 8 residents at the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center in Southeast on Thursday, Sept. 22. PHOTO BY PATRICIA LITTLE
Greg O'Dell of Events DC discusses plans for the construction of the entertainment and sports arena with Ward 8 residents at the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center in Southeast on Thursday, Sept. 22. PHOTO BY PATRICIA LITTLE

A casual meeting meant to discuss design concepts for the new Gateway DC sports complex in southeast D.C. quickly turned into a heated discussion over gentrification and what the new arena could potentially mean for Ward 8 residents.

The community meeting, which took place Sept. 22 at the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center, provided an introduction to the design of the new building, expected to house the D.C. Mystics and serve as a training ground for the Washington Wizards.

Deangelo B. Scott, a longtime Ward 8 resident, voiced his reservations about the project.

“I live in Southeast,” he said. “I’ve lived here for almost all of my life and I went through all of this facade and wonderfulness when the wonderful stadium was built, but do you think you’re going to see us there now? No, you’re not going to see that.

“I am all for change, but I love wonderful development that includes everybody and not some people,” Scott said. “We see this wonderful stadium coming here and we want it to happen. We want all of the wonderful things that the whole city is getting, but if it’s going to cause us to be displaced, or moved somewhere else, then it doesn’t seem to be a good deal anymore, because that’s gentrification.”

At-large Council member Elissa Silverman urged citizens in attendance to express their concerns at an upcoming public council meeting on the subject.

The open meeting is set to be held by the council’s Committee on Housing and Community Development and the Committee on Finance and Revenue, on Oct. 20 at 10 a.m. at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Room 120.

For more information on council hearings, visit dccouncil.us

Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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