Posted tagged ‘athletic field’

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.

The Conversation Continues of Balanced Public Use of School Athletic Fields

July 26, 2017

Yesterday, the Kojo Nnamdi Show had a segment that focused on access to recreation spaces as a follow up to the recent dust up at the Harriet Tubman athletic field. Guests included Rachel Sadon (Editor-in-Chief, DCist @rachel_sadon), Omar Gonzalez (Member, local pickup soccer group), and Alex Bearman (Executive Director, District Sports @DistrictSports).

The issue of community use of the Tubman field was settled when ZogSports decided to relinquish use of the field after the public outcry. However, similar issues can still happen in the future based on the current permitting process from the Department of General Services. I called in to the show and shared that a number of things could be changed to the permitting process, including requiring permits to have a letter of support from the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission and working with the community to determine a balanced plan for which days should be reserved for open community and school use and how much time should be identified for permitted organized sports clubs.

You can listen to the Kojo Nnamdi show segment here.

(Commission Boese addressing the community on July 19th at Tubman Elementary School with DGS’s Jackie Stanley (left) and OLA’s Eduardo Perdomo (right).)

Tubman Field Permitting Creates Conflict with Community Use: Meeting Seeks Solutions

July 20, 2017

Early this July, the Department of General Services (DGS) issued a permit to Zog Sports reserving the athletic field at Tubman Elementary School for an organized soccer league on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The permit runs through August 31st. A Bocce league currently has a permit to use the field on Tuesdays. The permits for these leagues have effectively closed use of the field to the neighborhood pick up soccer games that have occurred nightly at Tubman for many years.

This conflict of use was brought to the attention of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A on July 12th when an incident occurred on the field during their meeting. While most recreational areas are under the Department of Parks and Recreation, athletic fields on DC Public Schools property are part of DCPS and supervised by DGS.

Over the past week, I’ve been working in collaboration with DGS, the Mayor’s office, and the Office of Latino Affairs (OLA) to find both short- and long-term solutions to this issue. The community members organized a meeting on Wednesday, July 20, to continue the conversation with representatives of DGS, OLA, the ANC, and the Mayor’s office to follow up on where things currently stand.

(Commission Boese addressing the community at Tubman Elementary School with DGS’s Jackie Stanley (left) and OLA’s Eduardo Perdomo (right).)

DGS’s Jackie Stanley came prepared with an initial short-term solution that included reserving the field for the community on Friday evenings and Saturdays as well as before 6 pm on weeknights. Based on the community’s response, this proposal doesn’t meet the neighborhood needs, and Stanley listened to feedback from the residents so that she can continue to work from within DGS to find a solution.

I addressed the assembly stating that I believe there is both a quick fix to prevent this conflict occurring in the future and suggested a need to review the underlying cause that allows for school athletic fields to be permitted in the first place.

The simple solution moving forward would be to change DGS’s process to require that permit applications be reviewed by Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and have a letter of support from them as part of the application process. This is currently standard practice for DPR permit applications. When a permit application is reviewed by the local ANC the community is able to identify use conflicts before an application is approved. In short, this provides the necessary oversight to ensure that the community is not adversely impacted by the issuance of the permit.

(Commissioner Boese discussing the need for ANC review and letters of support for DGS/DCPS school field permits.)

The practice of issuing permits to use DCPS athletic fields dates back to 1982, with the establishment of the DCPS Realty Office as a result of D.C. Law 4-158, the District of Columbia Board of Education Leasing Authority Act of 1982. The purpose of this law was to grant permission to the Board of Education to enter into lease and other agreements for the use of DC Public Schools buildings and grounds, to defray costs associated with the operation and maintenance of public school buildings, and for other purposes.

I believe that this 35 year old law no longer adequately serves the best interests of the community or the District of Columbia as a whole. It was established during a period when the District population, and our tax revenue, was in decline. As the District has grown, so has its budget. This has resulted in many school fields being renovated for the benefit of the community. However, this also makes these athletic fields more desirable for organized sport clubs which are also looking for places to play.

Because of this, we need to go back and review the 1982 law as well as the entire permitting process with the goal of amending both to ensure that we continue to have fair and balanced access to school fields for all who wish to use them.


Revised Park View Athletic Field Proposal Presented

June 10, 2011

After presenting three revised designs to members of the community last night at a community meeting, those in attendance favored DPR’s proposal below as the  best possible fit based on the budget and community expectations of the services to be provided.
If anything lost out it would be baseball/softball. That was considered the least important of the communities needs. Those interested in tennis will have to wait until the eastern half of the recreation facility is renovated (although that is not currently in the cards). The planners heard loud and clear that two basketball courts was not to be entertained. The multi-purpose field is intended to answer the strong support voiced for soccer and football. This plan also includes the walking track that people expressed interest in.

The plan above is a basic concept that will also be developed further. Among the tweaks the community suggested was breaking up and relocating the bleachers, including picnic tables under a shade canopy where the current basketball court is, possibly installing a new tot lot, and looking for ways to include some trees to help shade and cool the area.

DPR representative Jackie Stanley pledged to communicate with the community regularly as the process moves forward and more details will be shared as they are known.


Second Park View Field Renovation Meeting is Tonight @ Park View Rec Center, 6:30 p.m.

June 9, 2011

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.


Designs for the New Park View Athletic Field — Which Concept Do You Want?

May 6, 2011

After much delay, three proposals for a renovated Park View athletic field were presented to the community last night by DPR Capital Projects Coordinator Jackie Stanley.

A renovated athletic field was first announced to the community in June 2009 but stalled in December 2009 when all outstanding contracts for field renovations required DC Council review. The $1.2M project for the Park View field passed review and was back on track until July 2010 when members of the community expressed concern that they had not been involved in the planning process. The designs presented on May 5, 2011, incorporated earlier community comments and were brought before the public in order to continue the refinement process.

Below are drawings and descriptions of the three concepts. Which do you want and why? Is there anything missing that needs to be included?

Concept One:

  • New 60′ baseball diamond;
  • New soccer field for children ages 8 & under;
  • Two new 24′ x 36′ shade shelters;
  • New athletic synthetic turf; and,
  • Renovated access to new fields and existing amenities.

Concept Two:

  • Two new NCAA regulation size basketball courts;
  • New regulation size tennis court;
  • Three new 24′ x 36′ shade shelters;
  • Bioswale/Planting Area; and,
  • Renovated access to new fields and existing amenities.

Concept Three:(In discussions of option three, it was suggested that the old basketball court be used as either a non-regulation size tennis court or for playground equipment such as swings)

  • New NCAA regulation size basketball court;
  • New multi-purpose field (70′ x 135′);
  • New athletic synthetic turf;
  • Two new 24′ x 36′ shade shelters;
  • Walking path; 1/8 mile loop (material TBD);
  • Renovated access to new fields and existing amenities.


Park View Field Renovation Community Meeting Tomorrow — May 5, 2011

May 4, 2011


Update on Park View Athletic Field Renovation

June 7, 2010

Future athletic field coming The current word on the street is that the renovation of the athletic field at the Rec Center won’t begin until this fall, which will be a year after it was first announced. Much of the delay has been due to difficulty in its funding — first when the contracts were questioned last year and more recently when Councilmember Marion Barry filed disapproval resolutions that included the project — which he later withdrew.

Now that the full swing of the season has begun, the project can’t move forward without major disruption to local youth and programs using the field.

If there is a bright side to this delay, it would be that the resurfacing of the basketball court is now being considered as part of the scope of work to be preformed. Only time will tell if the fall schedule sticks.


Park View Athletic Field on Hold

November 16, 2009

Future athletic field comingDisappointing news for the work planned for the Park View Rec Center athletic field.

I’ve learned that in a hearing today, Valerie Santos, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development stated that all currently pending projects have been postponed pending further information on the contracts.

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