It's a shame that in the midst of celebrating the life of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Courtland Milloy chose to concentrate on negatives {"Boulevard of Broken Dreams," Metro, Jan. 22}. Far from being the "asylum" or the "boulevard of broken dreams" that he depicted, Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue is a vigorous, vibrant street and the center of a community.

The signs of its vitality and growth are many. The Forsythe Building, the first new office structure in Ward 8 in 25 years, was recently built to house Washington Gas Co.'s East of the River Satellite Office as well as the East of the River Development Corp. Following its lead, an office building also is to be built at King and 1st Street SE to house the D.C. Board of Parole. Potomac Electric Power Co. and other businesses already have opened offices in renovated structures on the avenue, and District agencies have been moved into the new Peebles office building in Ward 6. The Anacostia Professional Building directly across the street from Peebles is the new home of the D.C. Lottery Board and the Taxicab Commission. In addition, a hospital for handicapped children is planned for a spot across the street from Assumption Church.

Like the rest of the city, major problems along Martin Luther King Avenue revolve around drug abuse and crime. But contrary to Milloy's view that the avenue is nothing but a string of liquor stores, our community has been successful in limiting the spread of alcohol licensing. And up and down the avenue are many social service organizations and churches that offer drug treatment programs.

The major destroyer of dreams in our part of the city is the lack of meaningful work. In an effort to help people turn their lives around, the Liberation of Ex-Offenders Through Employment Opportunities, an agency of the United Black Fund, teaches job skills to people recently released from prison. Unfoldment Inc., another UBF agency, offers job training for youths as well as drug avoidance programs. Capitol Services Management Inc. at 4th Street and MLK Avenue has an excellent record of job training and placement.

Had Milloy bothered to check the other side of the "vacant lot" he mentioned, he would have found the Senior Citizens Counseling and Delivery Service (UBF). Across the street, he would have seen the Action to Rehabilitate Community Housing agency. If had looked around the block, he would have seen examples of the ARCH's work.

Many other structures are planned for or being renovated along MLK Avenue. At its juncture with Stanton Road, for example, Matthews Memorial Church is about to construct housing for senior citizens. The Parkchester Cooperative is being renovated, and Barry Farms already has had a $21 million renovation.

Finally, a multitude of community programs and initiatives emanate from my constituent services office, including the Ward 8 Martin Luther King Jr. Parade (in its 13th year) and annual job and health fairs. In addition, my family newspaper, the Washington Informer, which is on MLK Avenue, sponsors the District's annual spelling bee.

Perhaps if Milloy interviewed community members who are working to correct our problems rather than those who refuse to participate in solutions, he could have given a truer view of our community and the avenue that was named for our slain leader. -- Wilhelmina Rolark is a Democratic member of the D.C. Council representing Ward 8.