D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, backed by an outpouring of community complaints, has persuaded Safeway Stores Inc. to keep open at least through Thanksgiving the company's supermarket in Cleveland Park, which was slated to close Oct. 17.

Barry and Safeway officials are scheduled to make the announcement today at a news conference in front of the store at 3427 Connecticut Ave. NW.

"That's an interim success," said Margaret Hare, chairwoman of the Save Our Supermarket committee that formed after more than 300 community residents, many of them elderly, decided to fight the initial Safeway decision.

"Without the mayor calling, they probably wouldn't have {changed the date}," said Hare. Both Hare and Pat Dilley, an SOS committee member, said D.C. Council member Jim Nathanson (D-Ward 3) also has met with Safeway officials and worked to keep the market open. "Nathanson has been great," Dilley said. "He's trying to do what he can with the mayor's office."

Safeway officials have said they want to close the store because it is too small and is an outdated facility that needs extensive renovation.

Community residents say they hope to persuade Safeway to keep the store open at least through December to allow time for other food stores, or a co-op, to be planned for the site.

Hare and Dilley said more than 6,000 persons over age 65 live in the area around the Cleveland Park store, which is also the closest major food market to Woodley Park residents.

"It's not a {major} problem for those of us who are fairly mobile," said Hare, "but it is a problem for the elderly . . . plus the additional expense."