Native Leaders Break Floor on New Recreation Heart

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District officers lately broke floor on what won’t solely turn into a brand new recreation heart in Anacostia, however Ward 8’s first newly constructed recreation facility in 20 years. 

As soon as finalized, Anacostia Recreation Heart shall be situated close to Ketcham Elementary College in Southeast. 

Facilities will embrace a gymnasium and health heart, basketball court docket, playgrounds for kids between 2 and 12 years outdated, demonstration kitchen, lecture rooms and multipurpose rooms, a promenade connecting 14th and fifteenth streets in Southeast, multi-use outside discipline, free web entry and a generator with 72 hours of power storage within the occasion of an influence outage. 

On Monday, D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) heralded Anacostia Recreation Heart as a step in the proper path for a neighborhood he described as in dire want of assets. 

“Ten recreation facilities closed down and we set out on a mission to proper this improper, White mentioned. 

“A recreation heart isn't just a constructing; it’s a web site for enjoyable and… for studying and tutorial alternatives,” White continued. “We knew this was the proper spot. That is one other step ahead to high quality well being and equitable companies. We owe it to our youngsters to offer them what we had.” 

Anacostia Recreation Heart is scheduled to open within the fall of 2024.

The groundbreaking comes greater than two weeks after Tynea Prepare dinner, Bernard “BJ” Hodges, and Reginald Gilbert misplaced their lives in a hail of gunfire on the 1600 block of Good Hope Highway in Southeast. 

Hodges, a longtime Southeast resident and father of 4, had been closely concerned in connecting residents with assets for skilled development and mediating battle between warring teams. As White and others talked about throughout a press convention earlier in August, Hodges had additionally been a key advocate for the event of Anacostia Recreation Heart.  

On Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) didn’t trace at whether or not she would rename Anacostia Recreation Heart in honor of Hodges. She as an alternative alluded to a course of by which residents can petition for a reputation change. 

Those that joined White and Bowser close to 14th and U streets in Southeast on Monday morning included Ketcham Elementary College principal LaCondria Beckwith, D.C. Division of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Thennie Freeman, Division of Common Companies (DGS) Director Delano Hunter and a hodge-podge of advisory neighborhood commissioners. 

Additionally in attendance had been members of Hodges’ household, all of whom posed with White round a framed {photograph} of Hodges. 

Tempie Satcher, Hodges’ mom, informed the Informer that she plans to launch a marketing campaign to rename Anacostia Recreation Heart in her late son’s honor. She mentioned that Hodges’ legacy shall be about serving to others and utilizing what he realized as a teenager to positively influence his neighborhood. 

“All of his life, BJ has seen the parks and recreation applications,” mentioned Satcher, a former DPR recreation specialist. “Even whereas outdoors and devoted to pals and households, he was listening to me and seeing what I used to be doing. This [recreation center] confirmed me that he listened to my suggestions. So now, my spirit is so comfortable.” 

Years earlier than breaking floor on Anacostia Recreation Heart, DPR and DGS collaborated on the development of Ferebee-Hope Recreation Heart in Southeast. Upcoming tasks embrace Congress Heights Recreation Heart and Fort Greble Recreation Heart, the latter of which has been an ongoing matter of concern amongst Bellevue residents.  

All of the whereas, DPR rolled out a plethora of programming throughout the town for mid-winter break and summertime, together with outside film nights, Late-Evening Drip, a Barbie-themed tennis bash, Jazz within the Park, and most lately, Chuck Brown Day celebration at Fort DuPont Park in Southeast. 

Earlier this month, registration opened for fall recreation programming. Within the coming weeks, younger folks can take part in aquatics, workforce sports activities, health lessons, cooperative play for toddlers, and introduction to piano. 

In her remarks, Freeman assured generations of Anacostia residents that District officers had them in thoughts in the course of the planning course of for Anacostia Recreation Heart. With the beginning of one other faculty 12 months, she relished the considered all of them, and younger folks particularly, would be capable of discover one thing of worth within the new facility. 

“This would be the first recreation heart in historic Anacostia and that by itself is one thing we should always all be happy with,” Freeman mentioned. 

“The demonstration kitchen is a spot the place colleagues and enterprise homeowners can train residents easy methods to prepare dinner and get their meals handler certifications,” she added. “Playground tools was constructed with intentionality. Folks of all ages can come out for a well-lit protected stroll. From the cradle to the grave, we're right here to serve.”