As I indicated to you yesterday, I attended a town hall meeting sponsored by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation last evening. Predictably, citizens from all over Ward Five expressed concerns about the number or quality of recreation resources that are currently available to them in their respective neighborhoods.
According to Director Flowers, a comprehensive assessment of recreational resources and services has been underway for the past couple of years and a set of plans to address the critical recreation and leisure time needs of citizens throughout the city is presently being developed. With specific regard to SMD 5C01, Director Flowers made a commitment to meet with me and other interested persons/parties in the community to determine ways in which to fill the void in services that have been, essentially, stripped away from us over the years. Because we are surrounded by four major traffic arteries (i.e., North Capitol Street, New Jersey Avenue, Florida Avenue and New York Avenue, N.W., respectively), the suggested alternative sites of Harry Thomas Recreation Center and the Kennedy Playground simply will not sufficiently meet our needs, particularly those of our small children and our seniors.
If, indeed, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, then we need a complete package of recreation services and activities to be made available to our children during their leisure time. We could also use a community center in the neighborhood that could be built on the southern portion of the Dunbar Senior High School campus or could be co-located with programs that are planned for future implementation in old school buildings in the neighborhood, like the former Armstrong Adult Education Center. The point is that there are a very limited number of alternatives available to residents of our community who want to do something constructive with their spare time. Importantly, Director Flowers has agreed to work closely and cooperatively with us in the immediate future to develop some action steps to improve the situation.
In response to my complaint about the nefarious goings on at the pocket park on First and Florida Avenue, N.W., I was told that a $610,000 grant has been allocated to the DPR to make improvements to the location. As I indicated to you previously, a part of the plans for the park is to place gates on both entrances that can be locked when the park closes at night. Beyond this improvement, I am told that we will be consulted as a community as to how the rest of the money should be used to enhance the park.
If you have any recommendations that you would like to commend to Director Flowers, please share them with me at your earliest convenience. Also, if you would like to be a part of a task group that will meet with DPR Director Flowers and other officials on these matters, please let me know that, as well.