Clark Elementary School in Petworth To Get Developed

Former Clark Elementary School, originally uploaded by TravelinfoolNLove.

I found this photo on flickr looking for Clark Elementary, though this one is actually in Flint, MI  I think it gets the point across.

So I know some folks are tired of getting asked what they’d like to see developed because they feel like they don’t see any results. Well, I actually feel quite differently. It takes an awful long time for certain development projects to occur and the input from the community can help entice certain businesses to commit.

I received word from a developer that Clark Elementary School located at 4501 7th Street, NW is up for disposition. It was suggested that I solicit suggestions from you guys. Like I said I think this is a great opportunity for us as this is a pretty large site which sits on 5.5 acres.

So what would you like to see here – another school, a park, ball fields, a coffee shop and restaurants/bars, affordable housing, market rate housing, or of course the famed chocolate shop? Put any suggestion you may have in the comments.

24 Comment

  • affordable housing, preserve the original aesthetics of the neighborhood.

  • Maybe this should have been my rant for the day. I am so tired of people talking about affordable housing. DC has LOADS of affordable housing. It just is not near your job, fave restaurant, fave bar, or nightclub. DC lacks affordable and SAFE housing.

  • I’d still like to see more arts development, like what a lot of people were supporting at the school in Truxton Circle (which is apparently now focused on finding a Charter School for the location).

  • Turn the school building into artist studios on the upper floors and a community/ recreation center on the ground level. The field can be a community soccer field with a space set aside for a dog park. I completely agree with nate on the affordable housing.

  • I thought that several charter schools including an adult ed center and an arts school for children were interested in the Clark location. And Nate, I totally agree with your post above about afforable housing in DC. All the afforable housing seems to be in unsafe areas.

  • I don’t care what it is exactly, just mix the uses — have people (legitmately) coming and going all day.

  • I’d like to see the field stay as open space for the community. We have soccer players, dog walkers, and all kinds of kid-friendly activity going on in the field. In fact, its a rare day that I’m there when there isn’t another group using the space.

    The building could be mixed use (retail or office + apartments) or just housing.

  • During a 6-month stint living in Portland, OR, I spent many a weekend dining, drinking, movie watching, and cigar smoking at the multipurpose Kennedy School on NE 33rd. The McMenamins are known in the Portland area for adaptively reusing old churches, schools, etc. as kick ass entertainment venues. Is this the best location for a similar destination in DC? Probably not, but a boy can dream…

    McMenamins Kennedy School

  • Yes, without a doubt the field should remain a field.

  • The “For Sale by Owner” is too funny.

    In terms of “mixed income housing”, I’m familiar with the city’s efforts in terms of ownership – i.e. “Workman’s Housing” / “Affordable Dwelling Units” but I’m not familiar with any mixed income rental projects. Living on 14th and Girard in an epicenter of high density subsidized housing, I think the city needs to re-think its policy and look for opportunities to create successful new subsidized housing integrated with market value housing and begin to retire the unsuccessful high density failures. No time like the present to begin and 5 1/2 acres is enough space to make something happen.

  • It is not the low in come that is the problem, it is the dysfunction that comes along with it. I have no problem with poor people. I have a problem with poor people eating carryout and throwing the container with the leftover food into the street.

    People with means are not going to live around that element. Not for long anyway. The city should give up on this social experiement and focus on providing safe housing for everyone.

  • Definitely keep the soccer field (maybe even make it artificial turf), fence off an area for a dog run/park, a nice playground and redevelop the building into a nice mix-use development with some residential, artist space, and even some small commercial. Something has to be done, since the school emptied out, there is a lot of loitering at night, and I routinely see smashed beer bottles in the parking lot which is unsafe for everyone. Great opportunity for community building and benefit with this site.

  • I love the Kennedy School in pdx!
    Why do we not have that in DC?
    I second the dream for Clark Elementary getting turned into something like that.

    The Arlington Drafthouse is just not the same. The seats are not comfy, and the feel is totally different.

  • what about a school?

  • I agree with RAW. If DC plans on closing schools, there could be a large area to create a huge entertainment venues like Chelsea Piers in NYC. It’ll create jobs and positive outlets for young people. This might now be the best place, but it’s an idea that could be used somewhere else in the city.

    I would rock climb, ice skate, go to a batting cage or do something similar without having to go to Alexandria or Rockville…

  • LAYC and other organizations that serve youth in the city are looking for property to convert into housing for young people who have aged out of foster care – many of these people are young persons who were kicked out of their homes because of issues of sexual identity. Perhaps part of this could be allocated for them?

  • heygirl – you have no idea how much I miss a $2 pint of McMenamins beer and watching a movie on a velvety couch. The Kennedy School experience actually allowed me to enjoy Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

    FKJ – while a multi-use athletic facility like Chelsea Piers isn’t what I was originally thinking, that’s another great idea! I also hate having to trek to the burbs for those types of activities.

    Locations like Clark Elementary make sense for these types of large-scale, destination venues for a number of reasons, but most notably parking. Places like Chelsea Piers (if it were outside Manhattan) and the Kennedy School attract visitors from a very broad area, and frankly, as much as I love me some transit, these people will be driving. Something like an elementary school will typically have more land area to accommodate parking and open spaces.

    On the economic benefit side, destination recreation/entertainment concepts could potentially lure significant $$$’s into DC from nearby Montgomery and Price George’s Counties.

  • affordable housing, preserve the original aesthetics of the neighborhood.

    What is the “original aesthetics?” Whites Only? Because most of DC’s NW neighborhoods were totally racist originally. I’m shocked someone would suggest that. Change is a good thing.

  • It is not the low in come that is the problem, it is the dysfunction that comes along with it. I have no problem with poor people. I have a problem with poor people eating carryout and throwing the container with the leftover food into the street.

    I challenge one single person to suggest that what Nate wrote is wrong. It’s the kind of thing I totally denied and argued against until I saw it happen with my own eyes.

    three weeks ago I was cleaning up my front yard when I noticed my next door neighbor had some trash under her steps. I asked her if I could clean it up and she said, “sure.” Underneath her porch I found easily 24 and possibly more like 30 16 oz glass bottles of coke. You know those fat old bottles that were replaced about 15 years ago with plastic bottles? The old ones from the 1980s? They had a full trash bag of them left under their porch for 15 years. She looks kind of embarassed and told me her father used to drink those on the porch. Drink them and then just through them under the steps? Literally just live over a pile of trash? It’s the kind of thing that if someone told me before I moved here, I’d have called them a racist. but it’s exactly how many poor people, even those who own their own houses live. It’s very upsetting and I don’t know what to think and or do about it, other than to clean up their property myself, which I’m already doing.

  • Wow. I first read that as her dad was drinking those under the porch. heck, they might even be worth something now.

  • I support redeveloping Clark Elementary. But as someone who lives less than a block away, I am a little uneasy at the idea of creating an “entertainment” venue as suggested above. Right now, our immediate neighborhood is quiet at night. It is not like living right off of U Street or someplace like that. Like many areas in Petworth, it’s much more suburban than urban. It would wreck the character of the immediate area to turn Clark into a night hotspot or something like that. I worry that doing so would mean a lot of traffic and late night noise, among other things. So please be considerate of the people that will have to live next door to whatever replaces Clark Elementary when making suggestions. (As for me — I say redevelop the field into soccer fields. The leagues that play there now are terrific, and they’re fun to watch. Include trash cans that are regularly serviced to help cut back on the litter. As for the building, some kind of community center would be great. Or even a charter school.)

  • “It’s the kind of thing that if someone told me before I moved here, I’d have called them a racist. but it’s exactly how many poor people, even those who own their own houses live.”

    Why would you have thought such a statement would be racist before you lived here? Is being a slob a racial thing?

    Kudos to you for helping out your neighbor, though, seriously. That’s going above and beyond.

  • Webster – you concerns re: noise and urbanization are valid given the quiet, residential character of the neighborhood surrounding Clark Elementary. Clearly the area isn’t designed to accommodate another U Street or similar cluster of nightlife/entertainment. However, you should know that the Kennedy School in PDX is also located in a single family detached neighborhood, primarily comprised of families with and without kids. The concept is more of an internally focused resort/bed & breakfast rather than a rowdy bar scene. I don’t recall hearing many complaints or fears that the character of the neighborhood had been compromised.

    Frankly, if I had the capital to invest I would pursue this idea on my own. Hopefully some of the visionary members of our development community are listening.

  • you’d be surprised who is listening.

    are the soccer games that are played there part of a league or just pick up?

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