Mayor Adrian A. Fenty joined Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) in Columbia Heights for the second time in as many days to mark the beginning of a $700,000 facade improvement project for 13 businesses in the the 1400 block of Park Road.
The area is surrounded by Target, Giant and new restaurants, but the stretch of Park Road has gone largely untouched. The renovations are scheduled to be completed by the fall.
Fenty, who is in a tight battle against chief rival Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, spoke little Spanish but seemed to be speaking the language of Latino-owned businesses on Park Road.
Ramon Compres, president of the Coalition of Park Road Businesses, thanked Fenty in Spanish and what he described as broken English. He told the crowd: "He going to be four more years mayor."
"Muchos gracias, Ramon," Fenty said to laughter.
"Yo es muy excited," he said to more laughter.
Then he added, "Contento. Jim Graham told me."
In an interview, Fenty said he finds the issues of the city's Hispanic community to be no different than those of other demographics.