The DC Chamber of Commerce praised current and past D.C. Council members and a mayor for their push in 2004 to bring what became the Washington Nationals — now the World Series champions for 2019. Its annual meeting and Chairman’s Inaugural Breakfast celebrated baseball visionaries and applauded with civic pride, while advocating for continued, cooperative business development and increasing affordable housing for District residents.
“It was not a sure-fire thing,” recalled former Mayor Anthony Williams, who noted that the Council vote of approval to build a baseball stadium was 7-6. Williams and others discussed the economic resurgence of D.C. after years of bad publicity and investors “running away” from their sales pitches for the city. While the city now boasts revitalized or entirely new neighborhoods, more and more construction cranes and an expanding tax base, Williams cautioned, “Not everybody has shared the ride up.”
“Nothing happens by accident,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser of the city’s yearslong push for investment and coordinated urban planning. “‘Economic development’ are good words.” She added: “None of it all matters if all Washingtonians cannot enjoy it.” The Bowser administration is pushing for 36,000 new housing units by 2025, including 12,000 of it being affordable.
Then, city leaders who helped D.C. become the place for a championship baseball team were saluted onstage: Williams, former Council Chair Linda Cropp, former Council members Harold Brazil, Vincent Orange, the late Sharon Ambrose (represented by her niece), Kevin Chavous, Sandra Allen and current Council member Jack Evans. Each received a replica of the World Series trophy, a Nats World Series cap and a Nats baseball.