Well here’s one for the record books. What started out as a harmless and possibly interesting Tweet by Councilmember Jack Evans turned into a very strange journey attempting to find out where our neighborhood had disappeared to. At 4:44 p.m. yesterday (Feb. 24), Councilmember Evans posted the following Tweet:As someone who is interested in what’s going on in the neighborhood I clicked the link. I was especially interested because the profiles are produced by the Washington, DC Economic Partnership which, according to their Web site, ” is your first point of contact for development and business opportunities in the District of Columbia. [They] partner with all parties, public and private, interested in making DC a great place to do business.” Or, in other words, they market DC to businesses around the country with the goal of bringing new businesses to the District.
So I was completely shocked when I went to the Web site, looked at the neighborhoods, and no longer saw Petworth/Park View. For some reason, in 2012 Park View was completely erased from the profile and map — even though all surrounding neighborhoods have now been added to the map for the very first time. While the 2009 profile and map had its issues, it was correctly labeled with both neighborhoods. Similarly, the 2011 profile was also correctly labeled.
The accuracy of the neighborhood profiles is important since they are used to attract new businesses. The target economic zone of the Petworth/Park View map is the area 1/2 mile around the Georgia Avenue Metro station. Yet with no mention of Park View in the text and the use of only photographs showing businesses in Petworth, this neighborhood profile is clearly biased toward attracting new businesses north of the Metro Station at the expense of development south of the station.
In contacting the Washington, DC Economic Partnership and explaining the problem
I was quickly informed that the change was made due to a request made by Councilmember Muriel Bowser. When I questioned this the representative on the other end became less sure and stated they would look into it and get back to me. (See update below)
I assured them that I was happy to contact Councilmember Graham and have him give a call, at which point I was informed that the Washington, DC Economic Partnership is an apolitical organization. I quickly pointed out that an apolitical organization would not be removing facts or accurate details from a promotional brochure due to a request from a Councilmember.
Still, I did notice one ironic thing about the profile listing. When looking at the “Petworth” profile, I noticed that the associated URL still clearly includes Park View. See the following: http://wdcep.com/dc-profile/neighborhoods/petworthpark-view/
We’ll have to see how this shakes out, but from my point of view, the only correct course is to correct the information online and destroy any copies that may have been printed. You can voice your support of this action by contacting either Mr. Shuskey (WDCEP) or Councilmember Graham. Their contact information is below:
Chad Shuskey | Vice President, Research & Visual Communications
Email Chad Shuskey
Councilmember Jim Graham
Email Councilmember Graham
UPDATE (2/24/12 @ 8:50): According to WDCEP, the neighborhood names come from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. What would make them change what to call the corridor from past years is still a mystery.
UPDATE (2/24/12 @ 7 p.m.): In checking the Web site tonight — and after a phone conversation with WDCEP — the online profile for the half mile around the Metro has been changed to Petworth/Park View.