Councilmember Nadeau Expresses Concerns on Tubman Field Use
Posted on July 20, 2017 at 4:23 PM
Today, Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau sent the below letter to the Department of General Services about allowing the community to use the field at Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights:
The original version of the letter is posted online here. The full text is below.
July 20, 2017
Director, Dept. of General Services
2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
Dear Director Gillis,
Thanks to your team for hosting a community meeting July 19 to discuss concerns about the use of the field at Tubman Elementary School.
I support the community request that time be set aside for neighborhood groups to use the space. It’s incredibly important to me that all the diverse voices in our community are heard when making decisions about this amenity.
For many years, when this field was poorly maintained, but well-loved by the community nonetheless, it was a gathering space for all. Then-Mayor Fenty recognized the importance of this and other green spaces across the District and invested in the field, finally making it the space the community deserved. It’s easy to see why this space is now attractive to other groups who would like to use it as well, but we must find a way to prioritize it for those for whom we originally envisioned it.
Regarding last night’s meeting, I’m concerned that the Tubman school community was not part of the discussion. I have worked tirelessly with the Tubman PTO to improve the school and its recreation space, (securing more than $6m for improvements) and the school community must also be part of the discussion.
Any use of the field should be prioritized as such:
1. Tubman students and school community
2. Neighbors and community groups
3. Leagues or other permitted uses
DCPS fields are not the same as fields managed by DPR, and as such we must be respectful of the school’s needs at the same time that we seek to address the community’s needs. The process that works for DPR may not be the same as one that will ultimately help us achieve our goals here.
This is an issue I have worked on at other DCPS fields, and requires a larger discussion about how we prioritize our green space and make it available to our community.
I look forward to working with you, in conversation with the school community, to determine the best way to make the field available for community uses.
All the best,
Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau
Councilmember Mary M. Cheh
Tubman Elementary PTO
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