Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No School, All Play at New Bruce Monroe Park


Although reading, writing, and arithmetic may be on the agenda for future visitors to Bruce Monroe Park, for now it is just 24-7 recess at 3012 Georgia Avenue, site of the the former school, redevelopment candidate and now park. The DC government held a press conference last August to vaunt demolition of the PCB and asbestos-ridden school, and to announce that the city would issue an RFP "in the next few weeks" for redevelopment of the site. But the District's solicitation failed to materialize, and city has since spent $2m beautifying the site before releasing a new RFP last week.

Last week, Consys, Inc. finished phase one of construction at Bruce Monroe Park, and the site is now open to the public. Two basketball courts, a tennis court, a small parking lot, and a playground complete the landscaped park, almost entirely enclosed by wrought iron fencing. There is no timetable or specifics yet nailed down, but a small
community building is expected to follow. Originally only funded with $500,000, it looked as if the project would come up short of complete. But the community expressed their disapproval as the two basketball courts and tennis court sat idly, waiting for the necessary hoops, posts, and netting required for proper usage until Ward One Councilman Jim Graham secured an additional $1.5 million in funding for the temporary park, which has since undergone a vast improvement in just a few short weeks.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) has asked for redevelopment proposals for the site. Development teams would not be limited to strictly educational uses, as DMPED has asked that proposals feature both a mixed-use (half school, half commercial) option and an entirely commercial plan. The RFP does stipulate that property sales generated from a potentially all-commercial venture would have to be reinvested in the renovation and modernization of the off-site school where former Bruce Monroe students are now housed.

A significant conglomerate of involved parents had previously voiced opposition to the prospects of updating the current Bruce Monroe, and it was assumed that option had been unofficially taken off the table. But as made clear by the new RFP, the possibility remains alive. All proposals must be received by 3PM on October 14th.

Much is in the works for the long-planned makeover of the Georgia Avenue thoroughfare, including several nearby affordable apartment projects, but very little construction has gotten under way. So it remains undetermined whether the priority here is a quality educational facility, or a proposal with the greatest likelihood of immediate construction and hurried completion.

Washington DC real estate development news

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you've got it exactly backward when you write:

A significant conglomerate of involved parents had previously voiced opposition to the prospects of updating the current Bruce Monroe, and it was assumed that option had been unofficially taken off the table. But as made clear by the new RFP, the possibility remains alive.

Here's a report from April 2010, regarding Council hearings about responding to Bruce Monroe parents who DO want to see the school rebuilt and I mean as soon as possible.

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/2010/04/29/vince-gray-no-construction-on-bruce-monroe-school-until-2018/

Brooks Butler Hays on Aug 11, 2010, 6:02:00 PM said...

Blogger Brooks Butler Hays said...

you misunderstand anon, i am not backward. parents are opposed to renovating the building that is now being used to educate bruce monroe elementary students. they are opposed to RENOVATING not rebuilding. they do so because they want a new school built in place of the demolished one, as your linked article further backs up. by "current bruce monroe" i'm referring to the bruce monroe at park view where students are now bused to

IMGoph on Aug 15, 2010, 12:02:00 PM said...

it's absolutely mind blowing that this park was able to be put together in something like 5 minutes, from demolition through funding and completion, yet the park in ledroit park, home to another demolished school, languishes, while it clearly has more community support, and had more thorough planning.

and both are in the same ward, so the councilmember could have found money for ledroit. why hasn't he? why hasn't he pushed barry on his hold for that park?

there's a real news story here, if someone could dig in and report it.

 

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