Posted tagged ‘recreation centers’

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.

Raymond Recreation Center Hosts Ribbon Cutting Tomorrow

March 15, 2013

Park View Recreation isn’t the only DPR facility in the area being improved. Raymond Recreation Center has also been in the process of being rebuilt. Tomorrow at noon, you can see the results of the city’s efforts to improve area recreation facilities when Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Councilmember Muriel Bowser, DC Department of Parks and Recreation and the DC Department of General Services cut the ribbon for the new center.

The center is located at 3725 10th Street, NW, which is just north of Spring Road. The building is done but the grounds will not be completed until mid-to-late May.



Construction at Raymond Recreation Center Also Progressing Well

January 23, 2013
The recreation center addition to the Raymond School as seen from the west (10th Street)

The recreation center addition to the Raymond School as seen from the west (10th Street)

While I’ve been following the construction at Park View Recreation closely, I didn’t want to neglect the great work that is going on at the nearby Raymond Recreation Center (915 Spring Road, NW). Ground was broken on a replacement for the old Raymond Recreation back in November 2011. The new rec center is being constructed as an addition to the rear of the Raymond Elementary School  with the recreation entrance off of 10th Street.

According to DPR, the new recreation center will contain features that include:

  • Indoor gymnasium
  • Computer lab
  • Game room
  • Fitness room
  • Multipurpose rooms
  • Locker rooms
  • Offices

The project is also planned to  include exterior improvements, such as new play equipment and landscaping. Originally the project was schedule to be completed by the winter of 2012. Based on the state of construction, it looks like it very well could be completed and open by the end of this winter.

View of the new recreation center from the alley north of the facility.

View of the new recreation center from the alley north of the facility.


Banneker and Raymond Among 32 District Playgrounds Identified for Renovations

October 15, 2012

Late in the day on Friday, Mayor Gray announced that the District is planning to spend $30M in FY2013 to renovate 32 DPR playgrounds (full press release below). Among those that will most serve Park View residents most are Banneker and Raymond.

I took the opportunity to reach out to Director Aguirre about the future of Park View Recreation Center since I know that few in the neighborhood are happy with the current state of the main building. Aguirre responded that while Park View is not on the list announced by the Mayor, there may be some work headed Park View’s way in the coming weeks. I’m still waiting for details, but it sounds like there is a possibility that minor improvements may be made to the building as well as some of the outstanding items from the recent grounds renovations.

I’ll be sure to stay on top of DPR until I get a solid answer, and of course, continue to advocate for complete replacement of the main rec center facility which falls way short of what the community deserves.


Mayor Gray Announces Expansion of Playground Renovation Project

Playground Improvement Project Largest in D.C. History

Contact: Doxie McCoy (EOM):  (202) 727-9691;
John Stokes (DPR) (202) 288-7275,

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Jesús Aguirre and Department of General Services (DGS) Director Brian Hanlon today announced that the District government would be undertaking the largest playground renovation project in its history. The announcement was made at Benning Park Recreation Center, one of the sites scheduled to be renovated under the expanded and accelerated Playground Improvement Proj

“Improving every resident’s quality of life is one of the main goals of my One City Action Plan, and every child in the District should have a safe and inviting place to play,” said Mayor Gray. “Renovating these playgrounds is an investment in the well-being of our children that will pay dividends for years to come.”

As part of his Playground Improvement Project, Mayor Gray tasked DPR with identifying the playgrounds across the city most in need of renovations. Initially this project was to be a multi-year endeavor as the District worked to improve all of the playgrounds in DPR’s inventory. However, Mayor Gray prioritized this initiative and worked with his budget team to identify additional end-of-year capital funds to both add additional playgrounds to the project and accelerate the pace of renovations. As a result, a total of 32 playgrounds will now be renovated in Fiscal Year 2013.

DPR and DGS conducted an analysis to determine which playgrounds were most in need of renovation and to estimate the number that could be renovated with the new funding.

Criteria that were used to determine which playgrounds receive renovations include:
– Age and condition of existing equipment;
– Internal risk-management audits;
– Community needs;
– Existing usage;
– Existing surfacing;
– Accessibility;
– Area demographics – including trends and forecasts;
– Existing infrastructure (water, electricity, etc.);
– Operations and maintenance requirements; and
– Proximity to other playgrounds/parks.

Mayor Gray announced today that the following playgrounds were identified though this analysis and will be renovated through this initiative are: (more…)

Park View Kids Zone Hosts Easter Egg Hunt at Raymond Rec

April 9, 2012

Some of those enjoying the cook out at Raymond

Not one to be daunted by the renovations at the Park View Recreation Center that have closed the park, Angela Strange and her Park View Kids Zone held their annual cook out and Easter Egg hunt at the Raymond Recreation Center this year. Assisting her were the Young Professionals auxiliary of the Greater Washington Urban League.

After the cook out, both the children and adults enjoyed a few games of tug of war before the Easter egg hunt began. I was happy to see a few of the oldest kids actually scooping up eggs and then turning them over to the youngest kids that weren’t able to fill their bags as easily as many of the elementary-aged kids could.

After the egg hunt, the day rounded out with a game of kick ball.

Children gathering before the start of the egg hunt


RFP Issued for Design-Build of Park View Recreation Center

September 20, 2011

According to the RFP issued on September 12, the scope of work for renovations of the recreation center now includes everything except the existing buildings and the pool

On September 12, 2011, the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization issued the request for proposals for the design-build services to renovate the outdoor areas of the Park View recreation center. In looking through the RFP, two immediate changes jumped out.

  1. The scope of the project has expanded to all of the open space at the recreation center; and,
  2. The budget has increased from $1.2 to $1.4 million, or, an increase of $200,000.

There is no way of denying that both of these developments are good. The facility has long needed solid investment and redevelopment. But, even upon completion of the outdoor spaces the overall needs of the site will still fall short of what is needed — which is to examine what kind of infrastructure is needed on the site and how to incorporate the recreation center site into a master plan that unites the center and the neighboring school. Still, the long-term needs of the community can still be pressed while working with the District to renovate the outdoor areas as presented in the RFP.

The only area where I still have concerns with the upcoming renovations is with the location of the basketball court. When the community was meeting with DPR earlier this year we were operating under the requirement that any plans for the renovation had to be completely within the existing athletic field. Because of this the new basketball court was located on the property along Otis Place. Now that the scope of work includes all of the open spaces, it would be good to revisit this location. The new basketball court could be located where the current court is but turned 90% which would encroach upon far less of the athletic field.

This thought has apparently not occurred to anyone yet. Below is the draft redesign of the recreation center as illustrated in the RFP.

General concept drawing of redesigned recreation center as included in the September 2011 RPF


Could the School and Rec Center Properties be United to Enhance the Conditions at Both?

August 10, 2010

The section of Otis Place between the school and recreation center

The Park View Recreation Center is a facility that tends to fall short of community expectations across the board. This is not to say that there haven’t been improvements over the last few years.

This past season, the Rec Center has received a pool table, ping pong table, art supplies, and new computers. This has been in response to community activism, including a very involved youth population in conjunction with the Youth Power Network that uses the facilities, working through DPR and Councilmember Graham.

Outside of the building, there is a new mural and the pool received an overhaul at the beginning of the season. There is also$1.2M dedicated to the site that was obtained for the purpose of a new playing field and resurfaced basketball court.

Yet, I can’t help but feel that these are all band aids. Rather that commit lesser amounts of money to address a basketball court or upgrade a swimming pool, DPR and the city need to look at this property with the goal of coming up with a master plan of what an ideal community center on this property should look like. From that point, working backward, dedicated funds could then be applied to implement that plan without spending good money after bad.

One idea that I’ve shared on occasion is the closing of Otis Place between the school and playground. Closing a street is not a simple thing and would not be without its critics. Being a one-way street, to assist with traffic flow it would also make sense to extend 6th Street behind the Rec Center and connect with Princeton Place. This would give residents the ability to still get to Otis Place without having to drive on Georgia Avenue. A general idea of what this would look like is in the image below.

Concept plan showing the extension of 6th and closing of Otis between the Rec Center and school

I found it interesting that this is not a new idea. The closing of Otis and uniting the property with the adjacent playground was first proposed in 1928, but was opposed by the Georgia Avenue Business men.  It was raised again in 1962.

In May of 1962 the Board of Education requested that the District Commissioners take action to close the portion of Otis Place adjacent to the recreation center making the land available for joint use. This proposal was met with disapproval from the Pleasant Plains Civic Association in September. This disapproval was followed on October 17, 1962, by Carl L. Shipley, Republican chairman for the District, suggesting that serious consideration be given to acquiring the homes behind the school along 6th Street and adding that property to the school for playground use to prevent the closing of Otis. This resulted in the Board of Education withdrawing its request entirely.

Beyond people’s natural resistance to change, is there a practical reason not to extend 6th and close one block of Otis? The extended street would take very little property away from the playground, whereas uniting the property with the school would greatly enhance the usable greenspace for the community.


Items of Interest from the ANC 4C Meeting — 3/9/10

March 10, 2010

Of the many items on the ANC 4C agenda last night, two struck me as being of interest to the broader community.

The first was the community planting project planned for Sherman Circle. What I think is particularly interesting about this project is the goal to restore the park to its original design. The next meeting for this initiative is March 16th.

The second item of interest was the project to rebuild the Raymond Recreation Center. Architects from the firm OPX Architects were on hand to show preliminary site plans and describe where the project is in development.

The Raymond Rec Center is located north of the Raymond school and bounded by 10th Street to the west, Quincy to the north, and 9th Street to the east. The plan is to build a new structure that is an addition to the school and can be used by the school during its hours of operation. The structure would also likely include a gymnasium for both school and public use.

The main entrance to the rec center would be on the 10th street side, and it would be a multi-level building to address the terrain and handicap accessibility issues. Outside of the functions of the structure, the architects did not present any plans on the appearance of the building.

The park portion of the rec center is currently scheduled to include basketball and tennis courts and be accessible to the public after school hours and on weekend. The estimated time line for the project is for the groundbreaking to commence around October 2010 with completion being around November 2011.

It will be interesting to see how a newly renovated Raymond Rec Center impacts the nearby Park View Rec Center’s activities.


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