Raise Your Voice – Make The Brookland Middle School And Turkey Thicket Play Nicely Together

Aquatic Center Brookland NE Washington DC
Turkey Thicket Swimming Pool

Can a great recreation center that serves the wider community and a great school coexist happily side by side? We certainly hope so. We have been following the overhaul of the Turkey Thicket playground over the last few months. With the city issuing a Request For Proposals (RFP) for the Turkey Thicket playground improvements on January 3rd, the project seemed imminent. However, adjacent to Turkey Thicket is the old Brookland Elementary School, that the DC Department of General Services (DSG) is going to tear down this year to build a new school – the Brookland Middle School. Right now, the DGS and DC Public Schools (DCPS) are in the concept phase for the design and construction of the school. As part of this exercise, they, along with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), are considering creating a joint property out of Turkey Thicket and the school property. Clearly, Turkey Thicket has many assets: the swimming pool, 90′ diamond baseball field, basketball court, gymnasium, multipurpose rooms, playground, and tennis courts. All of these would be huge assets to attract students to the school. But what about the needs of the wider community? At this point, it is not entirely clear what the consequences of this joint property concept are. How would this concept affect the community’s access to this much-needed, and used, recreation center? How will this plan, if enacted, affect the plans in place for the playground overhaul? The middle school is supposed to house 300 – 600 students.  What is the plan to deal with parking and additional traffic? Bottom line: will this mean a loss of neighborhood amenities or a chance for us to get expanded and better facilities?

DGS, DCPS and DPR are seeking community feedback on this co-location idea at a meeting called by ANC Commissioner Jenese Jones (of the 5B05 SMD) on Tuesday February 26th, 6:30 at Turkey Thicket. This decision will have a large and lasting impact on the quality of life in our neighborhood and the attractiveness of Brookland to potential new neighbors, so I encourage folks to come out and discuss what the implications are. Perhaps I am too optimistic, but I see the potential for win-win here, but we all know that only squeaky wheels get (and in this case, keep) the grease. Turkey Thicket Recreation Center is located at 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE.

5 thoughts on “Raise Your Voice – Make The Brookland Middle School And Turkey Thicket Play Nicely Together”

  1. This is totally confusing. Didn’t Parks & Rec just release a plan to redo the playground at the Thicket? How would that factor in?

    1. Hi Anne,
      As noted toward the end of the post: “At this point, it is not entirely clear what the consequences of this joint property concept are…How will this plan, if enacted, affect the plans in place for the playground overhaul?” No one I have spoken to knows the answer to this question. This is why we need the community to be engaged, show up to meetings, and hold the city accountable for coordinating these projects.
      Thanks for reading and commenting,
      Shani

  2. FYI. it is my understanding that if the appeal does not succeed it will set a precedent and effectively negate our zoning codes for everybody no matter where you are. A PUD can be introduced on any lot 15,000 square feet or larger. if it allows conversion to C2B from R1b then just about any two lots can be combined to form an apartment building. developers have been salivating over the potential impacts. remember the 200 footers were okay with c2a, but didn’t like the fact that c2b removes the affordable housing component. please do your neighbors the respect of being informed about the issues before throwing them under the bus. Also most of the amenities package is made up of items that are already required of such projects even if matter of right. Traditionally when residential lots were included they acted as buffers to allow the higher density on the original commercial (or other higher density lot). The office of planning is doing away with all C1 zoning and considered the lowest density to be similar to what you find in coloumbia heights and in fact expects to allow this development extend eastwards at least to 13th st ne. I am not a 200 footer and am pro development, but it should not be portrayed as a zero-sum game. I am grateful to the 200 footers for their standing up for all of our rights even if you don’t realize it.

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