Wednesday, May 28, 2008
At the ceremony dedicating the newly-renovated N. Glebe Road at N. Pershing Drive intersection last Thursday, Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada began his remarks by saying that he comes to the neighborhood often to shop and eat. He then praised the Glebe Market.
To the uninitiated, that might only have sounded like a politician glad-handing those in attendance, but it’s more than that.
The Glebe Market building will be torn down soon enough if the plans-in-progress go as scheduled. It will be replaced by a four-storey building with retail on the ground floor and market-rate apartments above. Georgetown Strategic Capital, the potential developers, have room in their plans for a small grocery store, but the question remains what type of store will replace the Glebe Market. This has led to debate within the community, and Mr. Tejada was publically throwing his support to one side. I think we now know what the county will be bargaining for as the development process progresses.
Although both sides of the argument are supported by all sorts of people, the main fault line corresponds largely to people’s backgrounds: the Spanish-speaking Latinos in the area want to see a store similar to the Glebe Market, while English-speaking people tend to prefer something more like a Trader Joe’s grocery or Yes! Organic Market.
(Sam Chon, the Glebe Market owner, is retiring and the store itself will not be reopened.)
I’ll admit here that I am with Mr. Tejada on this. I don’t want a Trader Joe’s (and a county staffer or two has told me TJ’s would not move in here anyway). I am afraid that we’ll lose the flavor of our neighborhood if we get another national chain. I am afraid that economic pressure will nudge our retail spaces toward the likes of Clarendon once the hundreds of new apartments and townhouses in the neighborhood are built. As one place goes belly-up it will be replaced by something a little higher up the economic ladder, I think.
(FYI: Buckingham will see about 1,000 new housing units once all the construction throughout the neighborhood is completed over the next five, years, or so.)
So, I'd like to see a store that has a similar content to the Glebe Market, and that has ownership close-at-hand so that it will be responsible to the neighborhood.
At the same time, I want any new store to look new. The Glebe Market does not look nice inside anymore. And I do want the county to think about what they are going to do with the men who congregate, sometimes drink or get unruly, outside the Glebe Market now. I don't want them simply rousted, but fairly dealt with.
And I'd like to know that any market we get serves the entire community, taking all backgrounds and income levels into account.
Mr. Tejada’s remarks can be heard here:
As usual in Buckingham events, the crowd at the ribbon cutting for the newly-spruced up N. Glebe Road at N. Pershing Drive intersection was made up mainly of county staffers with a few Buckinghamster and Ashton Heightites attending.
Although county board members Jay Fisette and Barbara Favola are seen in a couple photos, I forgot to mention that they were there and Mr. Fisette spoke. He praised the finished project and talked about how much he liked the Buckingham Center, the food and stores.
Ms. Favola, who is up for reelection this November, stood on and held the ceremonial ribbon.
I have to admit that I love what has been done to the streetscape. The sidewalks are nicer, the "skyline" without the wires is great. I only, still, regret that the art component was relegated to the bus shelters.
Buckinghamster Bernie Berne said that he thought the changes did little. He speaks up at many events and is known for wanting to get rid of affordable housing in the neighborhood and not liking the men who congregate outside the Glebe Market and CVS. He said the changes to the intersection do nothing to help that.
Bernie, I couldn't disagree more. I think what has (finally!) been done is great, and I'm very happy it finally happened. We can deal with other issues later.
Scroll down for the link to the story.
The county released a press release about the half-million dollar renovation to the pedestrian bridge that spans Arlington Boulevard at Jackson Street. The work started yesterday.
According to the county web site, “the project includes replacing the metal decking and fencing, improvements to the railings, painting of the bridge and railings and installing lighting and a roof over the bridge.” Traffic will be affected during non-rush hours, the press release says.
To read the press release click here.
The Week’s Headlines…
As always, you can scroll down to see all the recent stories, or simply click the links below (if the link doesn't work, scroll down to find the story, and email to tell me what's busted: firstname.lastname@example.org --Steve Thurston).
Headlines from Earlier in the Week:
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