With the rumbling of Metro as a backdrop, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty broke ground Tuesday morning on a mixed-use development at the Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood station that is expected to bring new life to a gritty stretch of Ward 5.
But there were politics at play as well beneath the hard hats and shovels. Sitting in the front row of the audience was former Ward 5 council member Vincent Orange, who is running for the council's top job.
His successor, Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), praised Orange for his role in developing the shopping center next door that is anchored by Home Depot and Giant. He also gave a nod to Orange's rival, council member Kwame Brown (D-At Large).
"Without Kwame, we would not be here," said Thomas, who has endorsed Brown in the council chairman's race.
Brown, who leads the council's economic development committee, was participating in a council meeting and did not attend Tuesday's ceremony.