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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Recap of the Rhode Island Avenue Task Force Meeting

This morning I attended the Rhode Island Avenue Task Force meeting and I wanted to share what  I learned as it pertains to Edgewood.  Also,  I would like to encourage people to attend these meetings as they are open to the whole community and it is a great way to get your voice heard and be a part of the development of Rhode Island Avenue NE.  The next meeting is being scheduled for the end of February.

The meeting started with an introduction of the different groups that were present.  There was quite a bit of blunt expression demonstrating the fractured relationship by the Premier CDC group towards the Friends of Rhode Island Ave group.  I have experience with the Premier CDC group in regards to them working towards starting an Edgewood Farmer's Market and I joined the Friends of Rhode Island Avenue group when they started last year.  So, that said I am not going to go into details of the discussion I am going to say I think both groups have a niche and there is so much to be done that the more the merrier.  I just hope people can work together and not duplicate efforts.  I think it would be best if each group could focus on specific initiatives and the Task Force meetings could be used to delegate and discusss what each group is doing.

There was a representative from CM Orange's office there and Jeff Miller, Director of Real Estate from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development was there as well.  They were both very informative about programs and initiatives and honest about the lack of money for government funding for many of these items.

I asked many questions about the potential Farmer's Market in Edgewood.  Premier CDC group stated that they are still working on it hoping to start one this year.  They have been talking with Vanguard at the Rhode Island Shopping Center, but they still do not have anything signed.  Jeff Miller stated that his office has also been discussing it with Vanguard and also offered the option that the Rhode Island Row development would be happy to have the Farmer's Market there.  It seems that we may very well have one this year.

Jeff Miller also stated that over 50% of the Rhode Island Row development's retail has already been leased.  He did not share any new tenants past the ones we already know.  I am hoping that Rhode Island Row will start advertising who they are as their spaces are being completed.

The Rhode Island Shopping Center was discussed further as I asked a few more questions about it and was told that development may be closer than I was previously told.  Basically the leases being signed by the new discount grocer/retailer are going to be shorter term and redevelopment could happen in pieces.

I made a few connections at the meeting for an outdoor movie night that I am trying to plan and coordinate with multiple groups along Rhode Island Avenue.  If anyone is interested in being involved with planning let me know!


  1. Wow! 50% of RIARow is leased! Yes, let us know what stores are coming. Also, how many people are living at RIARow? A Farmer's Market at RIARow would be nice. I've been to the one is Bloomingdale, but not at NoMa. The one in Bloomingdale is too expensive. So, I hope the RIARow Farmer's Market will be nice, but affordable for most people.

  2. Good news about the Rhode Island Shopping Center. Its a huge site and it makes sense to develop in parcels rather than all at once. I'd bet that developers are watching the Monroe Street Market and RI Row developments closely to see how well they do before making a push on this shopping center.

    Great Work!