(Washington, D.C.) –Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced that he will hold a Ward 8 Community Summit on Saturday, July 9 at the Thurgood Marshall Academy and Savoy Elementary School Gymnasium to discuss the unprecedented changes taking place in the areas near the Anacostia and Congress Heights Metro Stations. The purpose of the summit is to gain meaningful input from residents on a variety of topics related to economic development, housing, commercial revitalization, workforce development and transportation, according to a press release. The ultimate goal of the Community Summit is for residents to gain a better understanding of the “big picture” of what is happening in order to play a more integral role in making Ward 8 a network of great communities. It is anticipated that about 300 residents from Ward 8 and beyond will attend.

The meeting will have an interactive format that has been designed to gain as much information as possible about what Ward 8 residents want to see in their community, according to a press release. “Ward 8 is experiencing unprecedented growth and change in many areas. I invite residents to find out how we can all benefit from the changes in this community,” said Mayor Gray. “Let your voices be heard in an interactive work session to create economic development priorities for Ward 8.”

This event will utilize the services of the Louis Berger Group and AmericaSpeaks, a D.C.-based non-profit organization whose mission is to engage citizens in the public decisions that impact their lives and communities. With the strategic infusion of facts, figures, presentations and videos on a variety of topics, participants of the Community Summit will sit at tables of eight to 10 with a trained facilitator to discuss a series of questions that help create a set of collective priorities throughout the meeting, officials said. With trained facilitators equipped with computers at every table to record comments and individual keypads given to every participant to vote on key issues, this approach guarantees that all viewpoints are heard, documented and accurately tallied. Community feedback will be used to better inform future decisions and policies.

The mayor and various agency directors are enthusiastic about engaging residents to develop a set of outcomes and priorities that will be used to ensure that the community’s interests will shape this change, the release stated.

The event will be held at the school gymnasium at 2427 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., S.E., beginning at 9:30 a.m. It is accessible from the Anacostia Metro Station stop. The District is able to hold this event with the support of a Community Challenge Planning Grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

To register please go to: www.americaspeaks.org/ward8communitysummit or contact Stephen Rice at 202-442-8999.