Reading an e-mail sent to me by a Capital Business reader last week, I thought: Anacostia doesn’t need this.
The reader suggested that Natasha Dasher, owner of the Uniontown Bar & Grill on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue Southeast, had
been arrested on felony drug charges. Dasher was an entrepreneur who had put her money down to create a thriving neighborhood bar , whose customers demonstrated that their community constituted much more than poverty and violence. Uniontown had even attracted visitors from outside the neighborhood, something Anacostia has long struggled to do.
But the tip was spot on. Dasher was arrested recently on federal drug charges after 65 kilograms of cocaine was delivered to the doorstep of her office in Fort Washington.
Dasher is delinquent on rent and may have violated her lease, so Uniontown’s future is uncertain. Whatever happens, the restaurant-bar has helped change perceptions.
Stan Voudrie, the District developer who took a chance on Dasher in renting the space to her last year, was discouraged to hear the news of her arrest over the weekend. But he said her accomplishments remained.
“She’s made the neighborhood visible,” he said. “She’s proven that the neighborhood can really thrive.”
Just recently, Voudrie said, he had received a call from JBG Rosenfeld, the Chevy Chase-based retail developer, about opportunities in Anacostia. “People have got clients that are starting to want to be down here, and a lot of it is around what Uniontown was doing,” he said.
Once the JBG’s of the world take notice of the neighborhood, others are bound to follow. When they do, Uniontown will have helped to illuminate the path.