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Ballpark Hits Old Reputation Out Of Field

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A former industrial building where boilers for Navy ships were manufactured. The Capitol Riverfront revitalization strategy includes a plan to transform the building into retail and office space.
Asma Khalid
A former industrial building where boilers for Navy ships were manufactured. The Capitol Riverfront revitalization strategy includes a plan to transform the building into retail and office space.

By Asma Khalid

The population around Nationals Park has doubled since last year. It's a neighborhood in transition, with a past some would like to forget.

Charles Donaldson remembers what the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood was like before the ballpark.

In ’01, ’02, ’03, frequently my housemate and I would hear gunshots. We’d run to the window and you’d see people scattering all over the alley and then the next day there’d be these big teddy bear memorials.

The violence was linked to the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg housing projects. They’re gone now, these days, luxury condos with rooftop pools line the streets.

Jacqueline Dupree blogs about the history of the neighborhood.

"I keep on my site what I call the gallery of demolished buildings. and if you look at that, there's more than a 150 buildings that have been demolished in this neighborhood since 2003," says Dupree.

60 percent of the neighborhood is being demolished and rebuilt.But it's still struggling to overcome its old reputation.

Michael Stevens leads the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District.

"You know, this was a high crime area that it was unsafe. that it was industrial, that it was dirty. You know, you didn’t come down here. We still battle those perceptions. Just like the green line has some negative perceptions," says Stevens.

But, with more than 80 percent of units full, even longtime residents like Donaldson say their happy their neighborhood is becoming a more desirable place to live.

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