Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Another example of a need for a DC parks and recreation master plan

... ideally that would have a memorandum of understanding with DC Public Schools and with charter schools about access to facilities when school is not in session. (And maybe even the local colleges), not to mention including guidance with regard to National Park Service facilities located in the city.

Anyway, yesterday's Post has a big piece about a "controversy" concerning the use of the pool at Wilson High School, "Pool wars: How long should swimming lanes be aat D.C.’s aquatic centerpiece?"

In a piece a few years ago, I suggested that parks and recreation planning needs to occur at at least three scales:

- city-wide
- subdistrict (maybe by quadrant or by the Planning Office's 10 designated areas, which are slightly smaller than Wards)
- neighborhood.

I don't think Wards are a good way to plan for these kinds of facilities because residents need services but maybe a facility can serve multiple wards, even if Councilmembers don't think so (e.g., the Ward 4 Senior Center is less than 3 miles from the Ward 1 Senior Center).

Certainly, a city of 600,000 people needs more than one public facility with a 50m long pool. Maybe we don't need three, but maybe two? Etc.

E.g., we don't have one indoor track or exposition facility other than the DC Armory, which is unaffordable for most nonprofit events and organizers, etc.

From the article:

... A spat over the length of the lap lanes has roiled the waters.

On one end: swimmers who want shorter lanes to accommodate more people and different activities. On the other: a loose coalition led by competitive athletes who want to keep the status quo because Wilson is the city’s only indoor pool with the 50-meter lanes they consider ideal for training.

Both sides want to know: Whose pool is it, anyway?

It’s not the biggest issue in the city, by any stretch or butterfly stroke. But it does lead to another question: Should a public pool — and by extension the District government — serve the broadest range of residents or an underserved minority?

The Wilson Aquatic Center is considered by many to be the crown jewel of a massive overhaul of the District’s parks and recreation facilities launched during the tenure of former mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D)...

Clearly, not having a master plan for parks and recreation facilities has contributed to this problem. There ought to be facilities that satisfy both types of swimmers, it shouldn't be an either/or question.

Past blog entries:

-- Prototyping and municipal capital improvement programs

-- Government facilities planning can accomplish multiple objectives

-- No area municipality does it better: Arlington County extracting mixed primary use benefits from publicly supported facilities

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