Archive for the ‘Sports leisure and entertainment’ category

5th Annual Fall Fun Fest Scheduled for September 30th

August 13, 2018

The Friends of the Soldiers Home have announced that their 5th annual Fall Fun Fest will be held on September 33, 2018. The event is held at and coordinated with the Armed Forces Retirement Home, which opens its ground to the public for the event. In addition to the music, food, and games, one of the highlights for me is the antique car show held in the morning.

ANC1A Kicking Off Committee to Focus on Parks & Public Spaces on Thursday, April 5th

April 4, 2018

ANC1A is kicking off a new ad hoc committee focused on parks and public spaces on Thursday, April 5th, starting at 7 pm. The meeting will be held in the office of District Bridges which is located above Meridian Pint. The entrance is on 11th Street at the rear of Meridian Pint next to the Good Silver (3400 11th Street, NW).

This is an open meeting and all are invited and welcome to participate.

Over the past few years, ANC1A has received a growing number of concerns related to effective long-term management and vision as it relates to community parks and public spaces. The goal is for the committee to meet on a monthly basis, develop a comprehensive approach to long-term management and  growth of our public spaces, and make recommendations to ANC1A for action. Specifically, some of the focus areas of this committee will be to:

  • Identify community priorities related to public and community serving spaces;
  • Identify challenges to long-term maintenance;
  • Prioritize long-term improvements; and,
  • Bring all stakeholders together to better understand roles, responsibilities, and identify efforts already underway

Please share this information with others who may be interested.

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.

Meeting on Summer Basketball in Park View Scheduled for Wednesday, March 7th

March 4, 2018

At the request of Department of Parks and Recreation representatives, they will be at the March 7th Park View UNC meeting to discuss the summer basketball tournament that has been held at the Park View Recreation Center in years past.

The meeting will be held at the Park View Recreation Center, and begins at 7 pm. See flyer below.

Community Discusses Future of 11th and Park Rd Dog Park

February 1, 2018

Commissioner Angelica Castañon getting the meeting started. Seated l. to r. John Henderson, Lori Robertson, and Eric Gronning.

Last night supporters of keeping the WMATA property as a permanent dog park met at Raymond Recreation Center to discuss recent news that Metro is considering selling the property and what that may mean for the community. The meeting was organized by newly elected ANC1A06 Commissioner Angelica Castañon. ANC1A Chair and Ward 1 Council candidate Kent Boese and ANC1A Secretary Zach Rybarczyk also attended.

Commissioner Castañon made opening remarks and introduced Councilmember Nadeau as the first speaker. Nadeau stated that she has been working with the residents and 11th and Bark to improve the site over the years, and that she met with the Mayor and has asked for funds to be included in the budget. She stated that she “wants to help, is helping” and has met with Councilmember and Metro Board member Jack Evans, who thinks that purchasing the property is doable. Nadeau was unable to stay for the entire meeting, but noted that John Hillegass from her office was in attendance and could answer any additional questions.

John Henderson of Green Spaces DC was the next to speak, gave an overview of what role Green Spaces DC plays in the community, and emphasized the importance of green spaces in Columbia Heights in particular. Using the boundaries of Spring Rd. (north), New Hampshire and Sherman aves. (east), Harvard (south), and 16th Street (west), Henderson noted the neighborhood only has 2.75 acres of green space, including the civic plaza. He also noted that the DPR master plan calls for 12.9 acres of green space per 1,000 people. This illustrated how important the dog park property is for the growing Columbia Heights community.

Patrick Flynn of Patrick’s Pet Care was the next speaker.  He related his experiences, beginning on 2010 when he moved to the neighborhood. As a former ANC1A Commissioner, he shared his efforts with Councilmember Jim Graham — who originally helped open the property to the community when he was on the WMATA Board — and the red tape and challenges that exist with WMATA’s ownership. He even offered to lease the property from WMATA for $5,000, which ultimately didn’t come to fruition.

Wrapping up the presentations were 11th and Bark Board Members Lori Robertson and Eric Gronning. They also shared their experiences with forming a non-profit and efforts to lease the property from WMATA. They began with DPR to see if the city could gain control and allow them to raise money for maintaining the property as a Park Partner, but this route closed when the Department of General Services balked as there was no precedent for the arrangement under consideration. They next focused on negotiating directly with WMATA, with discussion progressing to the point where drawings of what an official dog park would look like (see below).

(11th and Barks concept of what an improved dog park could look like.)

11th and Bark learned in December that WMATA was no longer interested in leasing the property, as they had an unsolicited offer to purchase the property. This is the event that lead to the current situation and meeting as residents are concerned about what this could mean for the community.

In a communication WMATA sent to Councilmember Nadeau and shared with ANC1A and 11th and Bark members just prior to the meeting, they had the following to say, in part:

When Metro receives an unsolicited offer for a property, it first determines if the offer is reasonable and also if the Authority has a long-term operating need for the property.  If there is no long-term operating need for the property and WMATA desires to sell the property, the next step is for Metro to send a letter of notification to the jurisdiction in which the property is located (in this case, the District of Columbia) to first give the local jurisdiction an opportunity to purchase the property at fair market value.  Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regulations require Metro to receive fair market value for any disposition of properties such as the one at 11th & Park.  If an offer is accepted by Metro, FTA must also concur with the disposition of the property.

During the community discussion following the overview presentation, Lori Robertson shared that they had met with Jack Evans in the past, and indicated that the property could be valued at $1M. Commissioner Boese shared that the property could be as much as $2M based on experts he had consulted — but that this shouldn’t be considered a lot of money when who looks at how much the District invests in other parks and green spaces in the District — especially if the 11th and Bark group is planning to take on the costs of improving and maintaining the site.

Boese also shared his advice on who the budget process works and the importance of testifying before the relevant Council budget oversight hearings. While it would be helpful to have funding identified in the Mayor’s budget, due to the nature of budget oversight hearings it will be important for the community to be involved and advocate for this cause regardless of whether funding is in the budget or not.

Boese and Castañon also plan to draft a resolution supporting the purchase of the property which will be considered at the February 14, 2018, meeting of ANC1A.

The meeting closed with an overview on the ways neighbors can get involved and advocate for the park, as well as commitments to organized and Earth Day clean up of the dog park and a repeat of the Marty Paws event this year.

Meeting on Columbia Heights Dog Park Scheduled for Wednesday

January 29, 2018

Last week, it was learned that the Metro property at 11th and Park Rd, NW — which has been used as an unofficial dog park for years — was one of several properties WMATA would be considering to sell. This has caused great concern among neighbors who regularly use the site. In response to concerns expressed to WMATA and Councilmembers, Metro has postponed their discussion on the 11th and Park site, though still plans to consider it.

Newly elected ANC1A06 Commissioner Angelica Castañon has scheduled a meeting on Wednesday night beginning at 7 pm for the community to discuss the future of the property and potential solutions. The meeting will be at the Raymond Recreation Center.

Flyer with details below.

Artificial Turf or Natural Grass — What is Your Opinion on What’s Best for DC Athletic Fields

January 25, 2018

Last fall, the start of the school year was greeted with the unwelcome news that several of DC’s artificial turf athletic fields were considered unsafe and would need to be closed for repair or replacement. In our area, two fields that came under scrutiny were the fields at Harriet Tubman Elementary School and at the Park View Recreation Center. Fortunately, both of those fields were able to be used after some repairs, but the underlying condition remains.

The conversations that resulted from the field safety issue is ongoing, and many advocates of safe athletic fields would like to see the District discontinue using crumb rubber artificial fields.

Now, the Department  of General Services has created an online survey to allow neighbors to express their opinions on the issue. The online survey will be open until January 31st! (Take Survey here).

According to DGS:

This quick survey is an important way for us to get … feedback from DC residents and users of our playing fields on experiences with fields owned and operated by the District government, including public parks and schools. We’re also interested in your perspective on the type of materials used for field surfaces, and how any major changes to fields are communicated to the community.

Respondents to this survey have the option of submitting contact information for further engagement on this topic, but you also have the option to remain anonymous. Responses to this survey will help inform improvements to District policy on managing and maintaining fields.


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