By Mike Siegel, owner of W.S. Jenks & Son.
Recently, The Washington Post published an article that was absent the entire story of growth in the Trinidad Neighborhood. I wanted to share our Letter to the Editor, published on Tuesday, May 15 with The Hill is Home’s audience.
I know a lot of The Hill is Home’s readers are citizens living on the eastern half of this city, many of whom have been in the city long enough to know that positive change doesn’t happen overnight. They know it takes a hardworking and dedicated population to encourage the types of development that increase opportunity and decrease crime.
Our business, W.S. Jenks & Son, has been in DC for over 150 years, mostly in Chinatown –before it was the Chinatown of today. We have now been in Northeast DC since 1986. We have seen many neighborhoods change, mostly for the better and we are proud of all the positive development that has occurred across this city in recent years. Our local paper has an obligation to report on crime, but they can and should do so in a way that doesn’t demean the good efforts of good people trying to make a difference in our city. Our letter to the editor is below:
The May 8 Metro article “Despite robberies, hope remains” read as if Trinidad is the Wild, Wild West of Northeast Washington, with only a long-shot prayer for change but no real plans in the works. Anyone who spends time in this neighborhood — as I do in my job with W.S. Jenks & Son, which shares a wall with the 7-Eleven in the article — would quickly recognize that the article lacked details of all the positive change taking place here.
There are significant construction projects happening on Bladensburg Road by major D.C. developers. Four years ago, our building was an abandoned methadone clinic. It now is home to a 20,000-square-foot retail hardware store. We lease space to Cultivate the City, an urban garden and farm, on our rooftop. Cultivate has been a positive influence in this community, as have many others in the Trinidad area, and the article undermined all of that good work and dissuaded future investment in a neighborhood that has both a lot to offer and room for growth.
I would invite any reader in Washington to come to Trinidad and see the positive developments happening up and down Bladensburg Road. If The Post wants to write an article that paints the entire picture of what this area is, was and has become, we would be happy to help tell that story.
Dear Capitol Hill community and beyond: Do you have an opinion you’d like to share with our community? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d love to share your point of view.