Posted tagged ‘Bruce-Monroe’

New Bruce-Monroe Interim Use Plan Unveiled

June 24, 2010

Development plan as of May 26, 2010, for the first phase of the Bruce-Monroe site


The interim development plan of the former Bruce-Monroe school site has been updated to address many of the programming needs identified at community meetings earlier this year. This was due in large part to additional funding. 

When a revised design was presented to the community on March 31, 2010, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) only had $500,000 to work with and only truly proposed building a tennis court, basketball court, and installing a security fence around the property. 

On May 26, 2010, Councilmember Jim Graham announced that an additional $1.5 Million had been secured for developing the site. At last night’s Georgia Avenue Community Task Force meeting, Andre Byers — a project manager at DMPED — was on hand to present an updated plan that also dates to May 26. 

The area along Columbia Road is already being prepared for the athletic courts


In addition to the original tennis court and basketball court, as second basketball court has been added as well as two tot lots and a parking lot for visitors to the park. While DMPEDs original proposal to make the entire site a parking lot was successfully defeated by well-organized neighbors, Byers stated that zoning required the parking spaces included on the plan, even if the site was being used on an interim basis. Work on phase one is scheduled to be completed by mid- to late-July.  The initial development will not include water or lighted courts. The only lighting that will be in place will be for security purposes. 

The Site and Utilities Improvement Plan indicating the types of improvements planned

An area will be reserved for a future urban garden, and the athletic courts have been relocated along Columbia Road to free up the northwest corner of the property for a farmers market. Due to zoning restrictions, only the property along Georgia Avenue can be used commercially. The remainder of the property is zoned R-4 residential. 

The second phase will include water and lighting for the athletic courts entire site. There will be no designated lighting for the basketball courts. Programming and permitting for the second phase will occur while the initial development is underway, and may even begin before the first phase is completed. 

Finally, a building of some sort will be located at the center of the property to support educational programs and other community needs.  Whether it is a trailer or permanent structure does not appear to be settled at this time. When pressed on how the $2 Million was to be used, Byers responded that it was all allocated for construction, development, and programming. The current budget does not have specific line item allocations. Once completed, the site would be operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation, and maintenance costs would need to come from them.

Note: Updated @ 10:57, 6/24/10


Bruce-Monroe Site Cleared — Fence Going Up

June 15, 2010

The site of the former Bruce-Monroe school has finally been cleared of rubble. Though there is much work yet to do to turn it into a community asset, work is moving along.

In addition to cleaning up the site, work installing a new fence around the property is in progress and at roughly 40% completion. As was learned in April, the fence securing the area was estimated to cost around $200,000. This was a sizable chuck of the then allocated $500,000.

A section of new fencing at the Bruce-Monroe site

Developing the site to better serve the needs of the surrounding communities began to look up at the end of May. On May 26th, Councilmember Graham announced that $1.5 million had been included in the DC Budget to transform the old Bruce-Monroe site into the community use needed. Hopefully, the funds will still be included in today’s second reading of the D.C. Budget. Among the uses the money is to support are two basketball courts, night-time lights, fencing, a tennis court, programming, two play areas, a  community garden, and other beautification items.

A community meeting is scheduled for early next week to more fully discuss what is expected of the site. Though it seems unlikely, work is reported to be completed by mid-July.


$1.5 Million Included in DC Budget for Bruce-Monroe Site Development

May 26, 2010

CM Graham issued the following release on the listservs today. Most importantly for area residents is the $1.5 million put in the budget to support the development of the Bruce-Monroe site for public use.

Dear Friends:

I wanted to tell you immediately some of what we got in the budget.

I worked with Chairman Gray to put $1.5 million in to transform the old Bruce-Monroe site into the community use we need. The Mayor’s office said there was only $500,000 in the budget. That was not enough for the basketball courts, night-time lights, fencing, tennis court, programming and other beautification items. The stakeholders challenged me to find more. We did.

There will also be $7 million for D.C. small businesses hurt by the streetscape projects. This money will be placed in a fund for the sole purpose of providing tax relief for our small businesses. Earlier this year, several Col. Heights businesses showed me photos of the obstacles – diggers, brick piles, sand and all manner of debris – stopping their customers at the door. They also shared some of their financial books, all of which spurred me to act. We will be developing the process itself in the next few weeks. But we had to get the budget funding in place.


May 2010 Pleasant Plains Neighborhood Network News Now Available

May 12, 2010

The Bruce-Monroe school featured prominently in the May issue of the Pleasant Plains Neighborhood Network News (click on image at the right for entire PDF). The school was the focus of the two lead articles, both by Darren Jones.

In the first article, Jones recalls his experience and memories of the school that opened in 1973. The second is an open letter to Mayor Fenty, Deputy Mayor Santos, and the DC Council demanding engaged leadership for both the Bruce-Monroe site and the school community that was displaced when the building was closed.


So Long, Bruce-Monroe

April 13, 2010

The old Bruce-Monroe school has finally been reduced to a pile of rubble. The school is currently operating out of the Park View Elementary building at 3560 Warder Street. Interim use of the site is currently being discussed by the community.


Initial Look at Bruce-Monroe Interim Use Proposal

April 1, 2010

Last night’s meeting on the interim use of the Bruce-Monroe site displayed an initial proposal based on community comment from previous meetings. While not complete, it provides a good peek at what will likely come to pass later this year for the 3 acre site.

The design concept was based on a dedicated budget of $500,000 from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. There is little hope for more money in FY10, but depending upon community needs, Councilmember Graham stated that more money might be possible in the FY11 budget.

There seems to be a tight window for this project largely because demolition will be  completed by the end of April and the community hopes the interim development will be in place by the beginning of summer. Considering that it is illegal for the City to hire a contractor without going through the RFP process, a plan needs to be agreed upon soon in order to meet the summer goal.

Rough sketch of proposed Bruce-Monroe site interim planning as of 3/31/10

Some expressed concern that spending $500,000 was a waste of money when a school needed to be built. It was pointed out that putting the money toward a new school would not be anywhere near enough to get a school project begun. Others inquired about a temporary playground and if that was possible. Again, it was pointed out that the goal of the site was for a 3-5 year use and it would be difficult to take a playground away from a community that had come to rely on it. As to any use of the site for education and placing trailers on the site, the budget for that would likely come from DPR and as such was not presented as part of the plan.

To understand why the sketch seems as sparse as it is one needs to keep in mind two things.

  1. This is a basic sketch to identify areas of use based on community input. Continued input would indicate how the green spaces could further be programmed as funds become available; and,
  2. The total budget is $500,000.

To help understand the budget’s limitations based on the sketch, the following cost estimates were shared:

  • Tennis Court: $100,000,
  • Basketball Court: $75,000,
  • Black iron fence securing the site, $200,000,
  • the remainder of the money would go toward compacting the soil and installing lighting.

There was a general opinion that there should be a less expensive fencing solution, and those options will be looked into. The plan as currently presented also includes a school bus loading and drop-off area on Irving street that would limit the ability of neighbors to park within the zone during hours of operation.

Lastly, the issue of educational programs and activities was also raised. Several people expressed concern about education and desired that associated programming and facilities issues around education be considered. It was noted that as things now stand, educational facilities or programming  are precluded by the costs of the planned courts and the fence.


Old Bruce-Monroe Slowly Vanishing

March 26, 2010

While it hasn’t been reduced to a pile of rubble or become merely a memory yet, the former Bruce-Monroe school is well on its way of existing only in one’s mind. Below are some images (in chronological order of 3/17, 3/21, and 3/25) of its demolition.


Demolition Continues at Bruce-Monroe — Last Remnant of Old Monroe School Now Gone

March 10, 2010

Demolition at the Bruce-Monroe site

District representatives who told area residents that demolition would continue at the Bruce-Monroe site have been true to their word. The heavy equipment is back and the site is being cleared. Current estimates have the site cleared and ready for interim development by May 1, 2010.

All that remained of the Monroe school auditorium on 3/9/10

The first area to be razed was the final remnant of the original Monroe school, which had been saved and connected to the newer Bruce-Monroe school. You can see images of the auditorium prior to demolition here>>

Below are two more images of the demolition, as well as a map showing the outline of the original Monroe school. The auditorium was in the northwest portion of the property.

Remnant of Monroe school auditorium

Remnant of Monroe school auditorium

Map showing locations of area schools in 1947


Interim Use of Bruce-Monroe Meeting Draws Vocal Community

March 8, 2010

Parents, Teachers, and Students from Bruce-Monroe @ Park View giving voice to their Cause

The meeting at the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School tonight (3/8/10) was scheduled to primarily look at the interim use of the old Bruce-Monroe school site with a focus on temporary urbanism. However, attendees could tell early on that this was not going to be the only focus of the meeting.

Well before the scheduled start time of 6:30 p.m., parents, teachers, and students of the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View school started filing into the room with banners, picket signs, and plastic cups taped together with stones inside to make noise. They were angry, they were frustrated, and they were vocal.

Representatives from the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View school were in full force

When the meeting finally began at 6:49 p.m., representatives of the school were given the chance to speak. In short, they made it clear that an interim use of the site is unacceptable. They want a school, and they want it by 2011.

While it is easy to understand where the representatives of the school are coming from, it was frustrating to hear the District representatives questioned on why a school hasn’t started to be built when charter schools are moving forward and a new CVS is being constructed — projects that are not funded by the city the way public schools are.

A cacophony of chanting broke out time and again, frequently being “Build our school.” Early attempts to start talking about the interim use of the site were disrupted by frustrated attendees that wanted to see the school move forward.

While eventually Ward 1 Community Planner Tarek Bolden was able to make his presentation, it was an uneasy peace that allowed him to move forward.

The Bruce-Monroe site with zoning areas indicated

The 120,000 square foot Bruce-Monroe site is divided into eight areas and zoned for two different uses. The 150 foot deep strip along Georgia Avenue is Zoned C-2-A.

C-2-A is designed to provide facilities for shopping and business needs, housing, and mixed uses for large segments of the District of Columbia outside of the central core. They are located in low and medium density residential areas with access to main highways or rapid transit stops, and are intended to include office employment centers, shopping centers, and medium-bulk mixed use centers. (more…)

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