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  • Poor DC Residents Are Looking For Protection From Mayor’s Plan To Help Them

    Last month, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a plan to revitalize an area of the city that is often neglected. A new Wizards practice facility, she said, will bring prosperity to Southeast D.C., the poorest region of the city.

    Now, though, residents in the area are worried that the new development could push them out of the city entirely. Those residents asked Bowser for a “displacement-free zone” around the practice facility’s future site, The Washington Post reports.

    The city plans to spend about $55 million building a multi-use facility that will serve as a practice arena for the Washington Wizards. The city’s WNBA franchise, the Washington Mystics, will play all their home games there.

    Events D.C., the District’s sports and entertainment authority, which will eventually oversee the building, hopes it will attract concerts and other performances, as well.

    The hope is that the practice arena will become a destination in the otherwise blighted neighborhood. The announcement was met both hopefulness and skepticism, as residents now say they are afraid the development will push up property value and push them out of the area, according to the Washington City Paper.

    That’s why residents in the area are calling for a moratorium on property tax increases that may force out residents and small businesses that operate in the area.

    Anthony Muhammad, the chairman of a nearby advisory neighborhood commission told the Post he stands behind the displacement-free zone, “so we hope you get behind the same thing.”

    In the past, residents in the area criticized the plan, saying the District government is footing too much of the bill for the arena. Under the agreement made between the city and Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns both basketball franchises, the city will put up $55 million plus the property that the arena will sit on.

    Monumental, for its part, will pay just $5 million up front to lease the space from the city, and make $10 million worth of investments in neighborhood infrastructure through charities and non-profit groups.

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