Category Archives: Schools, Parks, Recreation

Noyes Playground Construction Update – Groundbreaking Soon

We learned the latest on the Noyes Playground overhaul from Jackie Stanley of DC’s Department of General Services (DGS). A construction fence will go up next week, and construction will start 2 weeks later. Construction is expected to last 12 weeks, with a target completion date of June 1st. There will be a groundbreaking ceremony, but a date hasn’t been set yet.

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The park will have the following features:

  • Playground for all ages
  • Adult fitness equipment
  • Plaza/Community gathering space
  • Community garden
  • Walking path
  • Multipurpose field
  • Perimeter fencing
  • Ornamental playground fencing
  • Picnic tables
  • Landscaping
  • Grills
  • Service entrance
  • Litter receptacles
  • Community message board
  • Irrigation system

The budget for the project is $1 million dollars, the contract to construct the park came in at $725,000, leaving the remaining funds for contingency purposes. Of note, there has been some hand wringing over the center play area which will be artificial turf rather than natural grass. The Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association even weighed in on it with  letter to DGS, asking them to reconsider. DGS is going forward with the plans for the turf, citing studies that don’t find safety issues, and claiming that maintenance is easier. Ms. Stanley also noted that the city in general is moving away from grass and to artificial turf for high traffic playground areas. More information on this project is available here at DGS.gov.  Noyes Park is located at 10th and Franklin Street, NE.

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.

Woodridge Library Celebrates Black History Month With A Variety Of Programs

Woodridge Library. Image courtesy of DC Public Library.
Woodridge Library. Image courtesy of DC Public Library.

As usual, the Woodridge Library has a lot of activities going on that appeal to a wide array of people and ages. This month there is an extra emphasis on African-American history programs in celebration of Black History Month. Here is a rundown:

  • PC Basics, February 7th, 2:00 pm
  • Reading Notes: Violin Lessons with a Reading Flair, February 9th, 3:30 pm
  • The Smithsonian Presents Mission:Preservation, February 11th, 1:00 pm
  • Teen Trivia: African and African-American Who’s Who,  February 11th and 25th, 3:30 pm
  • Black History Month Film Festival, February 11th, 6:300 pm
  • I <3 Books, February 13, 4:00 pm
  • C.R. Gibbs African Culture and History Lecture Series – African Genesis: The Rise of Humanity in Africa, February 6th, 7:00 pm 
  • C.R. Gibbs African Culture and History Lecture Series – Black Miners: A Buried Legacy, February 13th, 7:00 pm
  • C.R. Gibbs African Culture and History Lecture Series – Great Black Women, February 20th, 7:00 pm
  • C.R. Gibbs African Culture and History Lecture Series – Let Your Motto Be Resistance: Great Slave Revolts, February 27th, 7:00 pm
  • Job Seekers Drop In Clinic, Every Tuesday, 10:00 am
  • Preschool Story Time, Every Tuesday, 10:30 am
  • Tales for Twos and Threes, Every Tuesday, 10:30 am
  • Senior Fitness Fridays, Every Friday 10:00 pm
  • Chess Instruction for Younger Children, Every Thursday at 10:15 am
  • Chess Instruction for Older Children, Every Wednesday at 6:30 pm
  • Chess Club, Every Monday at 5:30 pm (except Monday, February 18th)
  • Story Time With Crafts, Every Thursday, 10:30 am

Check the library’s website for the particulars (target age, etc.) of each activity. The library is located at 1801 Hamlin Street NE.

Turkey Thicket Playground Overhual Update – Moving From Community Input To Concept Plans

Mayor Gray has launched the largest playground improvement project in DC history, named Play DC. Our very own Turkey Thicket Recreation Center has one of the playgrounds slated for an overhaul. We have posted earlier about surveys and meetings where Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of General Services sought input from the community. Brooklanders definitely stepped up to the plate and gave tons of feed back. DPR is not collecting additional comments at this point, as they feel they got the input they needed from the community regarding concerns and desires for the renovation. Next, DPR will consult with playground experts to select appropriate equipment while staying true to the concept plan. The updated concept plans are posted below. Double click on the playground diagram to enlarge. The slide show contains the themes that will be utilized and sample playground equipment. There are still a lot of details to be worked out, for example, how the community garden will be managed. Many thanks to Debee Yamamoto of the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association for keeping the community up to speed on the renovation.

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Woodridge Library Features Civil Rights Focused Programs And More This Month

Woodridge Library. Image courtesy of DC Public Library.
Woodridge Library. Image courtesy of DC Public Library.

As usual, the Woodridge Library has a lot of activities going on that appeal to a wide array of people and ages. This month there is an extra emphasis on Civil Rights programs. Here is a rundown:

  • Civil Rights Film Festival, January 14th, 6:30 pm
  • Job Seekers Walk In Clinic, January 15th, 10:00 am
  • African-American Teens & the Civil Rights Movement, January 16, 7:00 pm
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Story Time, January 17th, 10:30 am
  • Sewing With Samira – Beginning Sewing Class, January 26th, 9:30 am
  • Civil Rights Film Festival, January 28th, 6:30 pm
  • Make A Calligraphy Scroll, January 23rd, 4:00 pm
  • Make Marshmallow Snowman Popsicles, January 30th, 4:00 pm
  • Tales for Twos and Threes, Every Tuesday, 10:30 am
  • Chess Club, Every Thursday at 10:00 am, Every Monday at 5:30 pm
  • Story Time With Crafts, Every Thursday, 10:30 am

Check the library’s website for the particulars (target age, etc.) of each activity. The library is loacted at 1801 Hamlin Street NE.

Turkey Thickey Playground Renovation Plans Look Great! Still Time For Input Via Online Survey.

At a meeting on  Monday, December 17th, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation presented conceptual drawings provided by Studio 39 Architects for the Turkey Thicket playground renovation. As you can see below, a lot is packed into the overhaul. I am surprised by how awesome it is.

 Playground Renovation

The conceptual drawings and plans are based on the comments received thus far. Here is a rundown of the proposed renovation:

  • Replace and widen the walking track and add exercise stations along it
  • A new play park centered around a spray park (with no standing water)
  • Seating throughout the play area
  • A climbing feature, which will be a train track with a stationary train and tunnel. This area will have a mountain theme with berms and climbing stones throughout which will incorporate the hillside by adding a climbing feature on it.
  • A seat wall with a guard rail that will be musical–like a xylophone
  • A movie wall against the recreation center wall for outdoor movie nights
  • A large community garden

Here is a conceptual drawing of what the play area will look like:

Unfortunately for dog lovers, the plans are for the park to remain dog free. There is still time to give your input, so please respond to this survey and let DPR  know what you think. The deadline to respond has been extended to December 31st. We need a lot of interest generated for the overhaul so design elements aren’t stripped away when the rubber hits the road. Many thanks to Debee Yamamoto of the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association for keeping the community up to speed on the renovation.

Turkey Thicket Playground Overhaul – Missed The Meeeting? Give Your Input Via On-line Survey By Saturday

Community Center Brookland NE Washington DC
Turkey Thicket Exterior Photo Courtesy of DC Dept. of Public Works

A couple of weeks ago we posted about a meeting to discuss the overhaul of the Turkey Thicket playground. If you weren’t able to attend Monday’s meeting, it isn’t too late to let your opinion be heard. There will be a follow up meeting on Monday, December 17th at 6:00 pm at the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, 1100 Michigan Ave NE. You can also submit feedback through an online survey provided by the Departmet of Parks and Recreation. The survey will be closed on Saturday, December 1. For more information on the Play DC Project, the largest playground improvement project in DC history, contact PlayDC (at) dc (dot) gov or call (202) 391-9204.

Turkey Thicket Playgound Renovation Meeting – Bring Your Ideas And Get Involved

Brookland Families Enjoying the Turkey Thicket Playground

As we posted in October, Mayor Grey has launched the largest playground improvement project in DC history, named Play DC. Our very own Turkey Thicket Recreation Center has one of the playgrounds slated for an overhaul. The Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of General Services will host a community meeting to discuss the overall Play DC project, and the Turkey Thicket project specifically. All are encouraged to attend and share their ideas. Although there is $9.3 million in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget  set aside for the overall program, none of the parks have a dedicated budget from that amount yet.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 20, Monday, November 26, 2012 at the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center (1100 Michigan Ave., NE) from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. The Brentwood Recreation Center will also be discussed.