Last week we posted about the ongoing concerns surrounding the proposed co-location of the future Brookland Middle School and the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center. There will be another community meeting to discuss these plans this Thursday March 14th at 6:30 at Turkey Thicket. Our concern, based on the rancor and confusion of the last community meeting we attended, is that instead of building consensus, the various segments of the community wound up pitted against each other. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have done a lot of thinking about this issue and talked with neighbors of all demographics in Brookland and Michigan Park. We heard the same thing echoed over and over again – why can’t we have a great middle school, keep our well used recreation center in tact, and have the great community playground that up until last week was on the cusp of breaking ground? This need not be an either/or scenario. Don’t we deserve a solution that works for all segments of our diverse neighborhood? We propose that the community come together and state to the Departments of Parks and Recreation (DPR), General Services (DGS) and DC Public Schools (DCPS) very plainly what we do want, and allow this to frame the discussion going forward. Here are 4 broad points, that we feel would be a great starting point. If you agree with us, please sign the petition below and we promise to bring your collective voice to the meeting this Thursday.
1) We want to maintain Turkey Thicket Recreation Center as is – a well used, much-needed amenity valued by and accessible to the entire community. Co-location concepts that turn the Recreation Center into an adjunct of the Brookland Middle School and/or limit or eliminate community access to it are unacceptable.
2) We want the plans for the Turkey Thicket Playground renovation to go forth as planned, and budgeted for in the Request For Proposals (RFP) for this project, as part of the Mayor’s PlayDC initiative, with delivery of the new playground by summer 2013. This playground will serve the whole community as much-needed multigenerational gathering space and concepts to relocate, reduce or reconfigure its amenities are unacceptable.
3) We want a state-of-the-art Brookland Middle School with dedicated facilities that meet the program needs defined by the Brookland School Improvement Team (SIT) and DCPS. We understand that the new Middle School students should benefit from their proximity to the Recreation Center and we believe that agreements can be reached that will reasonably accommodate the school, playground and recreation center on one campus. The continued marginalization of Ward 5 middle school students is unacceptable.
4) We want a broader voice in the planning of the Middle School, so that stakeholders affected can be represented, including residents who live in close proximity to the proposed school and users of Turkey Thicket and the future playground. The Ward 5 Council on Education and the Brookland School Improvement Team (SIT) have been working very hard with the city for over a year on the plans for the new school, however, developing plans for this important amenity without the input of the whole community is unacceptable.
If you agree with the above 4 points, then we kindly ask that you take a few minutes to complete the petition below by noon Thursday March 14th. Your email and home address will not be used in any way other than to demonstrate the collective strength in numbers we have for a win-win whole community solution to our neighborhood’s needs.[emailpetition id=”1″]