Walking down M Street amid the designer retailers and high-end restaurants, it is often difficult to remember that Georgetown is and will always be a neighborhood.
All of us value Georgetown for its history and unique character, but the community recognizes that this famous character is also rapidly changing.

Higher rents — and tenants willing to pay those rents — are forcing out establishments that have called Georgetown home for generations. In the past year, rising rents have forced bars like Modern and Mr. Smith’s to close their doors. The spaces have since been replaced by retail locations.

Although these changes are expected to benefit the Georgetown community economically, those in charge of the process — including the Georgetown Community Board, Georgetown Business Improvement District, the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission and other local governing bodies — should preserve and protect the character of Georgetown, alive in its bars, restaurants and independent stores, especially along the M Street corridor.

This past week, Rhino Bar and Pumphouse closed, and while it will be primarily remembered for its rowdy reputation, its closing is unfortunate because of its history. Since 1953, 3295 M St. has been a bar with a lease that has passed from owner to owner over the years.

However, the property on the corner of 33rd and M was purchased by a high-end retailer, thus ending the bar tradition. This may be welcome news for those who think Georgetown is a shopping destination, but not for those that call it home.

As a transient population, students may not normally be expected to stand up to protect the town that they themselves spend comparatively little time in.
However, attending Georgetown not only instills great pride in our school, but also in the neighborhood that it has called home since its inception over 225 years ago.

The same neighborhood we have known during our time here is slowly being dominated by big-brand retailers. At this pace, there will be little to distinguish M Street from any other commercial township within a few years. It is up to us to stand up for those distinct pieces of this town’s character and the places that make Georgetown a Georgetown we recognize.

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