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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

That "school" space at 3rd and Sheridan Streets NW

With regard to the previous entry, I took these photos this morning.  The first photo is at 3rd and Sheridan.  A sign denoting the property as part of the Takoma Recreation Center is present at the baseball field.  The second photo is shot from Tuckerman, looking west towards the property.  The third photo is from a similar position, but showing trees on the 3rd Street side of the property

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At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

at one time I rented a small room at Whittier Gardens apartments at Whittier and 3rd- my windows looked out on the park and rec center. I saw numerous incidents happen in that park- cars stolen and set ablaze; druggies plying their trade, nefarious individuals roaming around..of course this was the 1983 up into 1991 - the prime time for the crack revolution and it hit that area badly. Nice to see that at least someone thinks that area is useful- I left it and bought a place back home on CH [ my parents lived there ] and got out just before the super surge in crime hit . Basically back then if you were the wrong color you could not use that park or rec center w/o risking your life and limb.. sorry but true words

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

It's an incredible asset now. Reasonably well used, even if not all of the users are neighborhood residents.

It's reasonably clean too (although I pick up a lot of litter 4-5 times/week, while walking along 3rd St.).

I remember the park on Otis St. NE when I walked to work when I worked in Brookland. By comparison that park was a nightmare. Probably closer to your WG era experience.

At 8:54 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

good lord I forgot how ugly power lines can be.

It doesn't look "Well-used" but I am comparing it to the Cardozo field which is constant use (but not by the children). Different place, I know.

Another aspect is (and this is where I think you are being a NIMBY) is there is a lot of value in empty space like this in a city, and the tendency of everyone is to build up on it. Hard to value empty, after all. A lot of the NIMBY philosophy is built on that -- see the "right size" signs in Tacoma.

Your main points are still strong though -- too many schools, building a new MS isn't really going to change that, and DC spends far too much on the building part of schools.

There was a good discussion to other day on GGW re: parents and cities, and a number of people make the good point that the pre-K day care makes a difference to parents. I'd say if a new MS can make a difference to the community in other ways that would be great.

At 9:52 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is one of those parks that could really use a public fountain with a grand neo-Classical sculpture in the center of it
the trouble is that it is mostly trees and "open space" without anything in it at all really. This is fine and there should be placeslike that but I would also like to see gardens , perhaps a maze, some interesting variety other then the same old same old we in DC are so often fed and left with. A small museum, a beer garden, - another thing- I have a big problem with the NPS prohibiting commercail ventures in DC city parks- this is absurd and needs to change. I would love to see more uses . Howabout a small railroad ride for kids ? Lets think up some really cool stuff and see it get done !!!

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

value in empty space... I know, I know, but at the same time there is value in park, open, and recreation space too, as is, as "an amenity" for the people who live in a place.

And yes, most all of the space in our area has been built upon, except for NPS and DC park spaces in the area.

To replace that space on the backside of Sheridan if used for something else is really difficult, because for the most part there aren't equivalent available spaces, especially placed to serve the people who use it now.

wrt the cardozo comparison, you are right that the park by me is less well used by comparison, likely due to the differences in density.

But I still rest on my basic point, that there are other alternatives, and they aren't being explored.

2. wrt that City Paper article, yes, it is another piece of the same general argument.

The reality is that there isn't enough "materiel" (the French word about military equipment, here I mean it as student bodies) to fill up all the schools. The Charter School Board keeps approving new charters, and the student population isn't significantly increasing, so obviously the students for the new schools are mostly coming from existing schools.

While I favor the proposal for Roosevelt and McFarland, it is a kind of a hail mary pass. Because having to fix two HSs not just one is so hard, is why I have a hard time with the "northern middle school" having to be rushed to an opening. I can see a building being constructed and then not really used, because of lack of students. I fear this. Especially given the Dunbar thing. It costs a lot of money to build a school and more to operate it and it really doesn't make sense to build new schools that will be underutilized when there is extant capacity elsewhere.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

wrt power lines, yes, and we are "lucky enough" that on our street, the poles are on the other side of the street, so our tree canopy doesn't get messed up.


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