WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Despite record surpluses, a growing population and shrinking crime and jobless rates, Washington still has a bit of an image problem around the country.
D.C.’s poor reputation is a dated one that revolves around crime and a crack-smoking Marion Barry, said Mayor Vincent Gray.
“I think there’s still lots of people who look at the late 80s and early 90s … ,” Gray said in his weekly radio address on WNEW.
People also associate the District with the federal government and the headaches caused by gridlock on Capitol Hill, Gray said. The mayor said he recently met an out-of-state lawmaker who thought bureaucrats only work in D.C. and no one actually lives in the city.
“I actually think there’s still a lot of people who believe we’re funded fully by the federal government,” Gray said.
In an effort to change people’s view of the city, the mayor’s office is working to change that perception and it’s starting by compiling a list of D.C.’s recent accolades. The city has received numerous awards and recognition for its economic, educational and residential improvements, but the area Gray’s office is focused on the most is the tourism industry.
“One of the things that is really uplifting is to recognize the increase in tourism because that’s always a barometer of what people think of the city,” Gray said.
ABC Travel Guides for Kids named D.C. the best travel destination for families in 2013, and WalkScore.com ranked the District as one of the top 10 most-walkable cities in the country.
“People are understanding that this has rapidly become a different place,” Gray said.
Listen to Gray’s weekly radio address in its entirety: