Archive for the ‘Department of Parks and Recreation’ category

Overview from DPR Basketball Meeting (Tournament is On) and Thoughts on DPR

March 9, 2018

On Wednesday March 7th, representatives from the Department of Parks and Recreation met with neighbors to discuss the annual Ty Hop Basketball Tournament. The basketball tournament has been held at the rec center since 2002, with no tournament in 2016. It was clear from the start that DPR is committed to continuing the tournament, but are open to feedback on days of the week, times, and length of the tournament (six weeks instead of 8 weeks?). Unlike years past, this year they are focusing the tournament for ages 15 years and younger instead of ages 24-40.

DPR has stated that they will organize a follow up meeting in 3-4 weeks to continue to work with the community on additional details for the tournament.

As in years past, the meeting centered on the need for a public safety plan in the community and concerns about gun violence. This is something that all in attendance who spoke up stressed — whether they were in favor of the tournament or not. Disappointingly, while MPD officers attended the meeting, they largely observed and offered very little, event when asked directly for their input.

The meeting, which began at 7 pm and wrapped up around 8:30 or so, was at times heated and emotional — with some citing the tournament as a valuable experience that helps bring people together and break down racism and bias — to others expressing concern that directly or indirectly gun violence has occurred around and near the rec center during tournament times and that no one should have to teach their children to duck and cover — and others still expressing that the tournament has a long history in the neighborhood and that those who have moved to the neighborhood need to accept that this is part of the community and to not push it out.

In my opinion, DPR can do a better job when it comes to working with the community to organize events. Here are three areas where I believe DPR has dropped the ball.

  1. An annual basketball tournament is fine and should be a community building event, however DPR continues to strike me as focusing only on being responsible for what happens on their property and relying on the community or MPD to control what occurs off their property. Technically, this may be where the responsibilities are, but we need to have a collaborative and integrated public safety approach for events that draw larger numbers of participants for longer periods of time. This is no different than other large events in the city whether it be the Funk Parade or a city festival.
  2. DPR repeatedly stated the longevity of the tournament as its justification for its continuation. As the tournament continues to have a large number of participants I can agree a basketball tournament still has value. However, the neighborhood has also changed a lot since 2002 when the tournament first began. Park View is far more diverse with many young families that equally value other activities. DPR needs to change and adapt along with the community — meaning that basketball should no longer be the only event at the Rec Center. Today the Rec Center needs to do this with a diverse summer program of actives. I don’t see DPR taking the lead on this.
  3. DPR needs to listen. Neighbors do advocate for activities they would like to see at the Rec Center in addition to what is offered now. For the past couple of years parents have repeatedly asked for the small children’s pool to open earlier on Saturday, and I sent Directer Anderson a letter to that effect from ANC1A last year. Similarly, when former Mayor Fenty and Councilember Graham first proposed to renovate Park View Rec Center’s baseball field with a new artificial turf baseball field in 2010, I pointed out that no one in the neighborhood played baseball and led neighbors to push for neighborhood servicing improvements which were delivered in 2012. DPR’s failure to listen before they make decisions sets up a contentious and divisive process before their first conversations with the community even occur. This needs to stop.

Ultimately we need a DPR that is a true community partner. One that is responsive, one that is engaged, and one that values the diverse and ever changing needs of every neighborhood.

New Fashion Tailoring Program at Park View Recreation Center

January 17, 2018

Park View Field House at the Recreation Center

I’ve been informed that the Park View Recreation Center now has a tailoring program, located in the Field House building. The program is Tuesday through Thursday, 1-7 pm. The program is free.

Below is an overview of the program for anyone interested in participating.

Fashion Tailoring Program
(Free Community Program (for adults and teens))

Tuesday 1:00-7:00pm
Wednesday 1:00-7:00pm
Thursday 1:00-7:00pm

Instructor: Jhaz Phifer
Location: Park View Recreation (Field House) 693 Otis Place NW Washington DC 20009


  • Basic Tailoring and Alterations
  • Hat making

For all your basic tailoring and alterations feel free to bring items to the center (field house).

Jhaz the Tailor

Park View Movie Night Scheduled for September 16th!

September 12, 2017

UPDATED: The time and choice of movies have been updated as of 9/12 @ 3 pm.

To close out the summer, DPR has scheduled a Movie Night at the Park View Recreation Center on Saturday, September 16, beginning at 7 pm.

It will be a viewers choice with the following selections;

  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

We Need the Park View Pool Open Earlier on Weekends

July 6, 2017

An issue I’ve been watching closely this summer is the hours of operation for DPR pools and spray parks. For years, neighbors have wanted the pool at the Park View Recreation Center to open earlier on Saturday and Sunday, perhaps around 9:30 or 10 am. It currently opens at Noon on weekends.

While past attempts have been unsuccessful, I think the time is right to push for this change again. Starting on June 30th, DPR decided to extend hours when its its spray parks would be open from 9:30 am to 8:30 pm. While this is great, it doesn’t really help Park View. Never-the-less, as DPR seems to currently be open to changing service hours for spray parks, its time to push for the same consideration for local pools too.

The Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pool at Park View Recreation Center.

Council Asks DGS to Study & Recommend Options for Community Use of Schools

January 25, 2017

school-use-billOn January 10, 2017, Councilmember Charles Allen — along with Councilmembers Robert White, Anita Bonds, and DAvid Grosso — introduced a bill to require the Department of General Services (DGS) to convene a task force to identify barriers to and develop recommendations for community use of public school facilities and ot submit those recommendations to the Council. The Task Force must transmit a report of its work and findings to the Council by March 1, 2018.

In reading through the bill, some of the items requested of DGS includes identifying existing barriers to community use of school buildings, determining costs for community use of school buildings, and developing recommendations for a District-wide policy to allow for community use of school buildings. The report’s focus is to be on policies and practices for increasing community use of school facilities for both organized and casual recreation, with an emphasis on promoting healthy activity.

While I’m encourage by this effort and can support its goals, I don’t feel it is going far enough. Based on messages I’ve read on area listservs over the last few years, this appears to be in response — in part — to residents seeking access to swimming pools (such as the one at Dunbar High School), gymnasiums, and other recreation focused areas of new and existing schools. I think such an approach is too narrow and presumes a definition of recreation that is physical in nature. For me, recreation needs to be defined more liberally and broadly, and increasing community access to school facilities for any purpose that builds a stronger community out to be the goal.

One issue that is particularly lacking in many neighborhoods is available community meeting space, where neighbors can come together over local issues and get to know each other as part of the process.  With this in mind, I’ll be reviewing the types of spaces available in some of our area schools, and coming up with a list of recommendations to be considered by the task force as they work on their report for the Council.


Admiring the New Plantings at the Park View Rec Center

April 29, 2016

I wanted to acknowledge some of what the United Neighborhood Coalition accomplished during their UNC Earth Day event last Saturday. Despite the rain,  they were able to pick up a lot of trash and helped spruce up the Rec Center with flowers. The photos below show how nice the entrance to the rec center looks even with the rainy weather.

Park View Earth Day

Park View Earth Day 2

Park View Field House Renovation Nearly Finished

August 7, 2015

This will probably be the final update on the Park View Field House at the recreation center before the project is completed. It is essentially completed now, and the majority of punch list items are expected to be completed by Wednesday, August 12, 2015, including removal of the temporary construction fence.

Below are photos of the (nearly) finished project.

Park View Field House



Park View rec center interior


Raymond Recreation Outdoor Spaces Officially Open Today with Mayor Gray Ribbon Cutting

August 12, 2013
Raymond Recreation from the north.

Raymond Recreation from the north.

At long last, the reconstruction of Raymond Recreation Center is finished. The new building hosted a ribbon cutting on March 16th and has been in active use since then. However, the outdoor playground, tennis courts, and athletic fields have only recently been completed.

Raymond is conveniently located near Columbia Heights, Petworth, and Park View, so I’m sure it will be a heavily used asset to the greater community.

In visiting the site, the outdoor spaces looked great. I haven’t had a chance to visit the building yet but have heard great things about it.

Below is the official announcement for today’s ribbon cutting, scheduled for 10:00 a.m.


Executive Office of the Mayor

Office of Communications



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 9, 2013

CONTACT:     John Stokes (DPR) 202.288.7275;

Mayor Vincent C. Gray to Cut Ribbon on New Raymond Recreation Center Playground

Playground Features the Eclipse Net Climber, First in the Country

WHAT/WHO:     Mayor Vincent C. Gray; Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser; Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Jesús Aguirre; Department of General Services (DGS) Director Brian Hanlon; other government officials; and ANC 4C06 Commissioner Vann-Di Galloway will join Raymond community members for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the newly renovated Raymond Recreation Center Playground.

 WHEN:        Monday, August 12, 2013
10:00 a.m.

WHERE:       Raymond Recreation Center Playground
3725 10th Street NW

 BACKGROUND:   The newly renovated Raymond Recreation Center opened in March 2013, and the playground is the 6th of 32 play spaces to be completed under Mayor Gray’s citywide Play DC  initiative. The play space will feature new state-of-the-art equipment and an Eclipse® Net Climber, the first installed in the country. Amenities also include the “we-saw,” a multi-seat see-saw; the Pulse Tempo, an interactive, multi-sensory game; a new PebbleFlex® safety surface; bio-retention areas; ADA accessibility; an artificial turf field; game tables; a shade pavilion with picnic tables; tennis and basketball courts; and more.

City Amidst Parks and Recreation Master Plan for D.C.

June 12, 2013
Graph showing the six phases of and their duration

Graph showing the six phases of the Master Plan and their duration.

The following announcement was sent out on various listservs yesterday. Knowing that playgrounds, recreation, and greenspace is of great concern to everyone in the community, I wanted to make sure that as many people were aware of the new Parks and Recreation Master Plan as possible.

I particularly like that there is a significant Historic Preservation Review component that will engage in an historic context study of the District related to the physical evolution of the parks and recreation system and inventory and analyze key sites for their historical integrity. Detailed project information can be found here.

If you want to learn more or participate, the June 20th meeting will be held at Raymond Recreation Center.

Full press release below:

DPR and DC Office on Planning Announce The Parks and Recreation Master Plan For the District

Over 30 Organizations, Community Stakeholders and Residents Are Invited to Participate in this New City-Wide Initiative

DPR Customer Service:  (202) 673-7647
DPR Media Contact:  John Stokes
, (202) 288-7275, email:  john.stokes (at)
OP Media Contact:  Tanya Stern, (202) 442-7635, email: tanya.stern (at)  

(Washington, DC)
  Today, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the DC Office of Planning (OP), in collaboration with consulting firm AECOM, announced a new city-wide initiative titled “The Parks and Recreation Master Plan” for the District of Columbia.  DPR, OP and AECOM have been working together with 30 additional government, community and private sector organizations to develop the beginning phase of the District’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan. This plan will guide a new, bold and strategic vision for advancing the District’s parks and recreation resources and help District residents, workers and visitors Move, Grow, and Be Green.

All District residents are asked to participate in planning the District’s park system for the next ten years. A variety of outreach tools including an online forum, public workshops, and an official “launch” at Mayor Gray’s One City Summer Kickoff, held on Saturday, June 15, 2013 at RFK Stadium (Lots 6 & 7) will be available to engage citizens, collect feedback and gather information to create the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

The Parks and Recreation Master Plan project team is interested in hearing residents’ ideas on the District’s overall parks system, including what is working well, areas that could use improvement, and large-scale ideas to be considered for implementation over the next ten years. (more…)

Annual Ty Hop Basketball Tournament Scheduled to Start on June 24th

May 21, 2013

As you can see from the flyer below, the annual Ty Hop Basketball Tournament is schedule to start on June 24th and run through August 9th. This is at least a week shorter than last years tournament. Also, like last year, games are scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the Park View Recreation Center. I’m sure more details will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
Ty Hop Tournament

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