The second in a series of weekly meetings to plan community events at the Park View Recreation Center was held last night. The meeting’s focus was on the coming Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and a later event to celebrate the Park View Family.
The ribbon cutting that will officially reopen the renovated and newly constructed basketball court, playground, athletic field, and adult exercise area is hoped to occur at the end of June, possibly on either June 23 or June 30. In any event, those at the meeting are striving to have the event on a Saturday. A lot will depend upon when the renovation work is completed but that could be as early as June 18.
Those at the meeting agreed that the ribbon cutting event should be used to launch an afternoon of smaller events that focus on food, community, and games that emphasize the features of the outdoor recreation area. While the main recreation center will close at its normal 4 p.m. Saturday time, the outdoor area will remain open to at least 7 p.m.
It is not too late to participate. The next meeting will be at the Park View Rec Center on Thursday, May 31st, at 6:30 p.m.
Finalizing the ribbon cutting event planning as well as continued planning for the Park View Family Day later in the summer or fall still need all the participation people are willing to give.
Then second meeting between the neighborhood and DPR concerning the renovation of the Park View athletic field is tonight at 6:30 p.m. Details can be found by clicking on the flier to the right.
Readers may recall that at the first DPR meeting on May 5, 2011, the planners presented three initial plans for community comment to better help them determine how to renovate the athletic field. Concept two, which eliminate all of the green space in favor of two basketball courts and a tennis court received the least support.
There was a lot of support for both concepts one and three. Based on this, the planners have reworked both of those concepts incorporating additional comments they received at the first meeting, via email, and from this blog. I’m very excited to see how the plans have changed as a result.
To help me better understand what activities need to be supported on the athletic field I decided to play with the plans myself. Taking into account the entire site, and presuming that the DPR and school sites could be united with indoor recreation activities being included at the school when it’s not in session, below is what I came up with.
In this fantasy version, a regulation basketball court replaces the current recreation structure (which originally replaced a tennis court). The children’s pool is also replaced by a spray park that could support a wider range of ages. This plan also provides room for some landscaping on the Warder Street side of the basketball court and a sod area between the spray park and the old field house. Lastly, I’ve included three additional trees since I feel trees are important and Warder is in serious need of trees. In this plan the basketball court does encroach upon Otis Place to about the middle of the street.
What was important to me in performing this exercise was the realization that though small, if designed well everything the recreation center currently supports can continue to be supported without a loss of the expansive athletic field if the functions of the current building can be shifted to the neighboring school in some manner. This is something that DPR is currently planning to do at sites like Raymond.
Last August I posed the question on whether or not closing a portion of Otis Place to connect the school and recreation center properties was a good idea or not. Since it was unclear at the time if the school was destined to be modernized or closed, I dreamed large and not only closed the entire block but cut in a new road at the rear of the recreation center’s property.
Now that things are more settled I think its time to think about this again. During the last year a decision has been made to keep the school open and renovate the building. We are also poised to begin renovations of the rec center’s athletic field. Because space at the rec center is at a premium and residents have expressed the desire to support tennis, basketball, soccer, and football, we either need to find additional space or decide what we are willing to live without. One possible way to enhance the neighborhood’s need to balance recreation, green space, and general quality of life would be to close the portion of Otis Place between both campuses.
Realistically, what would a partial street closure look like and how would it impact traffic? Below is a map that makes sense to me along with notes on what would need to change.
Map indicating how closing the section of Otis Place between the school and rec center could impact traffic
The only part of Otis that truly lends itself to closing easily is the section between Warder Street and the alley behind 6th Street, NW. Yet, to close this section the following changes would need to be made.
Newton Place between Warder Street and 6th Street would need to change from a one-way eastbound street to a one-way westbound street.
It would make sense if 6th Street, NW, were changed to a one-way northbound street.
The stoplight at Otis and Warder would no longer make sense and should be relocated to the intersection of Princeton Place and Warder (or perhaps just a stop sign could be placed at this intersection and the traffic signal eliminated entirely).
This wouldn’t impact drivers too much since both Princeton Place and Park Road (the streets directly north and south of the affected area) support two-way traffic and have traffic signals at their intersections with Georgia Avenue.
Closing this section of Otis Place is not a new idea. Records at the DCPS school archives indicate that it has been raise at least two prior times. The first attempt to close Otis and unite the adjacent playground with the school property was proposed in 1928, but was opposed by the Georgia Avenue Business men. It was raised again in 1962 when the Board of Education requested the closure to make the school and recreation lands available for joint use. This met with opposition from the Pleasant Plains Civic Association ultimately causing the request to be withdrawn from consideration.
Basketball court at the Park View Recreation Center
The on-again off-again renovation of the Park View Recreation Center’s facilities appears to be gaining some traction again. The renovation of the athletic field first hit a snag in December 2009 when the funding of fields was reviewed by the D.C. Council.
The $1.2M for the Park View field eventually got the green light only to be sidelined in July 2010 when the community expressed that it had not been involved in the planning and programming of the site. DPR has finally developed plans for the site and will host a Community Meeting on Thursday, May 5th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rec Center to give the community the opportunity to review the plans and make comments and suggestions. Renovations of the field will not commence until the active season winds down.
More immediately, upgrades to the basketball court will begin on April 28 and are scheduled to be completed by May 20. The courts will be unavailable for use during this time. The scope of work for the courts includes:
Resurfacing of court surface;
New bleacher seating;
New goals; and
A portable scoreboard.
The Park View Rec Center hosts an annual basketball tournament each summer. Staff at the Rec Center tell me that this year’s tournament is scheduled to run from May 23, 2011, through August 12, 2011, Monday-Friday from 6-9 p.m.
Children participating in Easter activities at the White House, April 2, 1923
Angela Strange and her Park View Kids Zone program has scheduled an Easter Egg Hunt for Saturday April 23, 2011. The entire community is invited to participate. They will have Easter crafts and activities all day from Noon to 4 p.m.
The Easter Egg Hunt will take place at 2 p.m. on the field at the Park View Recreation Center (693 Otis Place). For those that can not attend but want to contribute, Mrs. Strange indicated that they are in need of plastic Easter eggs and candy donations. If anyone is interested in donating either of these items please contact Mrs. Angela at 615-496-0834. They can arrange pick up or folks can drop donations off at the Rec Center’s field house from 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, or Saturday’s from Noon-4 p.m.
While area Easter events are generally associated with the White House (above photo), this hasn’t always been necessarily so. Though the picture quality is low, the image below documents an egg-rolling event near the ponds of the Soldiers’ Home that occurred on April 5, 1926.
Where: 14th and Girard (Obama) Park at 14th and Girard Streets
When: Saturday, April 9, 2011, from Noon to 5 p.m.
Free Refreshments with Sounds
A very worthwhile event that enhances the quality of living for the greater Columbia Heights community that so many diversified persons (anticipation of some 1,000) attend and enjoy in a wholesome recreational and safe environment.
If you have the time, check it out. It’s a great way for old and new neighbors to get to know each other and have fun.
UPDATE — Please note: in the event of inclimate weather the alternate site for the Spring Tournament of Games will be in the social rooms/courtyard of 2900 14th Street, NW (CHVA).
Earlier this month, I alerted folks that the semiannual Cultural Tourism DC WalkingTown tours had been scheduled. This program is a great way to get to know the city, particularly areas and neighborhoods that are a little less traveled.
This fall’s schedule includes a tour I’ll be leading around Park View. The tour lasts about two hours and covers points of interest between Rock Creek Church Road and Irving Street. If you are interested in this tour it will begin and end at the east entrance of the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro station.
For a description of other tours, including dates, times, and descriptions, you can get the full list by going to the Cultural Tourism DC Web site.
The FUN SATURDAY program at the Park View Rec Center is going strong and has a season of events in store for area children.You can check out the entire fall schedule here.
This Saturday they will be hosting a professional dance crew who will be performing and giving free dance workshops to the kids. Weather permitting they will perform on the basketball courts starting at 1 pm.
This will be followed on October 2nd with a program that includes a scientist who will be doing some fascinating experiments for the kids. If you haven’t participated in the programs before, you might want to check them out.
Our neighbor to the west is hosting the 4th annual Columbia Heights Day a week from this Saturday. The community celebration features live music and dance, family activities, local artisans, food and more.
Those wanting to know more can find it after the jump>> (more…)
This Saturday, July 3rd, there is going to be an Independence day Parade for area youngsters. It is being organized as part of the Park View Kids Zone’s Fun Saturday program.
They plan is to gather at the little house on Princeton Place around 11 a.m. and decorate bikes, wagons, and participants in red, white, and blue. The parade will start around noon.
After parading around the block and returning to the Rec Center, the afternoon will be filled with hot dogs and swimming.
All are welcome, young and old. The organizers hope to make this a big family neighborhood event by next year. Parents interested in finding out more can email Angela Strange or call her at 615-496-0834.
Kent Boese, "'Houses with Novel Points': Kennedy Brothers, Princeton Heights, and the Making of Northern Park View," Paper presented at the 36th Annual Conference on Washington, DC Historical Studies (2009).
Michael Schaffer, "Post-Mortem," Washington City Paper 18, no. 9 (1998).
"The territory comprising Park View extends from Gresham Street north to Rock Creek Church Road, and from Georgia Avenue to the Soldiers' Home grounds, including the triangle bounded by Park Road, Georgia Avenue, and New Hampshire Avenue" (from Directory and History of Park View, 1921.)
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