Bowser says the “hubs” will have teams focused on keeping the neighborhood “safe and clean.”
WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Mayor Muriel Bowser is set to roll out a plan in Chinatown that she says will keep the neighborhood ‘safe and clean’.
The announcement is set to take place Monday morning.
The mayor’s office says Chinatown will be become the first of a series of priority areas in the District to become what they are calling “safe commercial corridor hubs.”
The improvements to the corridor have become top priority ahead of the potential departure of the Washington Capitals and Wizards from downtown D.C. At the beginning of the year, Bowser launched a task force focused on creating a new vision of the two-block neighborhood without the presence of the two sports teams.
During a public safety update with the District Council, Bowser previewed the hubs telling reporters the task force was analyzing, “How can we better use the public space so that we are bringing people to the area outside of event days, that support the small businesses that are in and around here.”
According to the mayor’s office, the hubs will be staffed by public safety and human services teams that will be able to respond to “real-time challenges in the community”.
Visible drug sales, increased presence of homeless people, and disruptive panhandling have created negative perceptions and experiences in the corridor, according to a study released last year by the Downtown DC Bid.
Bowser’s plan in Chinatown has garnered pushback from some groups including the “Save Chinatown Solidarity Network.” Protesters interrupted the mayor and Councilmembers Phil Mendelson and Brooke Pinto during their speeches at the District’s Lunar New Year celebration.
“We are currently focused on how we grow our downtown,” Bowser said as protesters voiced their concerns.
Ren Lee who was part of the demonstration says that today less than 300 Chinese Americans remain in D.C.’s Chinatown, many of whom live in the Museum Square Apartments. Lee told WUSA9 that there is concern among the residents that the vision of a new Chinatown means displacing them from their home.
“As the Mayor thinks of a task force to rejuvenate Chinatown, rejuvenate downtown. We cannot forget about the entrenched residents that live here,” Lee said.
Bowser says residents will be able to provide public input during community meetings as the vision for Chinatown moves forward. The final plan for the corridor is expected to be released by the end of 2024.