More than 100 Southeast Washington residents met with Mayor Marion Barry and several other city officials yesterday to discuss the future of Camp Simms, a 25-acre parcel of land in Southeast, the future development of which has been the subject of intense community debate.
Council member Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8), who called for the community meeting at the Mary Church Terrell Elementary School at Wheeler Road and Savannah Street SE, said the city had been making plans for the commercial development of Camp Simms without informing the community. Camp Simms is bordered by Alabama and Mississippi avenues and 13th and 15th streets SE.
City officials and residents have agreed that the federally owned Camp Simms, a former National Guard facility, should be used for commercial development to help combat the area's high unemployment rate. But few developers to date have expressed an interest in the area. At yesterday's meeting John McKoy, director of the Office of Planning, said the city is trying to find a private developer who will participate in a joint venture with the city.
During the discussion, several residents said they fear that if Camp Simms is put up for bidding, the neighborhood might lose control of the process, according to Leona Redman, president of Ward 8's Fellowship Council.
Redman said the meeting adjourned without any action being taken.