Dear PoP – What’s The Story With the Lot Behind DC USA?

DSCN0913, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“Dear PoP,

What is the status of soccer field behind DC USA? It has been cleared but nothing more has been done. I think you said it was now part of the HS’s property but they were short on funds. Any idea of completion timeline? And when complete will it be open to the community? And along those lines, is the community allowed/encouraged to use the HS fields for sports when school is not in session?”

There was a similar Dear PoP about this back in April. At that time a few commenters said:

“I saw a contractor taking measurements along the edge of the aforementioned vacant lot. He said that it would soon be an artificial-turf football field. I assume that the field would belong to the Multicultural school, since the DCUSA/school were actually developed by associated parties, and the empty lot is smack in the middle.”


“It is (hopefully) going to be a soccer field or some variation of an athletic field for the school. My aunt is on the board at Bell and she is one of the people working on raising the money needed to get things going. From what I understand they are very close to having all the $. I will drop her an e-mail and see if I can get a status update for everyone.”

I walked by this weekend and the tractor was new to me. It looked like some sort of digging had begun. Can any of the commenters update what the plans and/or timelines are for this project?

16 Comment

  • Okay, I’ll bite: What exactly does DC USA stand for? And where is this located?

  • Columbia Heights.

    I wonder if this soccer field was proposed by the developer and will suffer the same fate as the soccer field proposed by the developer in downtown LA when they bulldozed the massive community garden (and built nothing).

    To find out, might take upsetting some people.

  • It’s supposed to become an artificial turf athletic/soccer field. The backroom wheeling and dealing mess around this project has it years behind schedule. And is a prototype of how NOT to working openly, transparently and creatively between community, agencies and the private sector.

  • Oh for the love of god just give the conspiracy theories a rest, William!!

  • What conspiracy theories, guy? This soccer field is indeed another example of what happens when spineless elected “leaders” care more about kickbacks from the developer than about doing the right thing for a local community.

    Tearing down a great old building to be replaced with yet another empty space on a dead, unsafe block? Allowing that disgusting aluminum siding facade to go onto a new mall in the neighborhood? Elected officials are quick to do what’s easy and remunerates them best. These aren’t conspiracy theories; they’re the reality of municipal politics in this hick town.

  • William give it a rest , stop being stupagiyous

  • I read a recent press release saying a little over $1M was just given to complete the field by the DC governmnet. Not sure if I’d call DC giving the property to a school, clearing it of an unused building that the DCUSA developer surely would have liked to keep, and then giving over $1M to complete is an example of poor anything other than delays coming up with the cash. Regardless, I hope the field is left open for the public to use when school is out.

  • @CP – I actually favored preservation of the old sturdy, brick school myself – it would have made a nice residential building.

    That said, just to fill you in if you’re unfamiliar with William Jordan/BroNat’s schtick, he blames every little problem, delay, or new retail, new bars, basically any change whatsoever to the neighborhood on a shadowy cabal of developers, unidentified yuppies and Jim Graham/Dan Tangherlini. Apparently there is some unknown “benefactor” on Georgia Avenue pulling the strings as well.

    I’m not saying local government and development interests are perfect, but he sees conspiracies at play all around us, just like some people believe the Trilateral Commission or the Brandenberg Group(?) actually run the world. I can’t imagine there was any hardcore “backroom wheeling and dealing” over this small athletic field, just the usual inefficiency and bureaucracy at work.

  • Does anyone know the deal with the abandoned-looking buildings adjacent to this field? I see them every morning from a distance as I cross 16th St at Lamont, and had been wondering if there were any plans to do something with them.

  • @DC_Chica: Do you mean the small strip of row houses north of this lot? I think people live in at least some of those, even though they’re not terribly well maintained.

  • DC_Chica is probably referring to the bldgs across the street from those row houses. There’s been some very, very slow progress on renovating these for quite a while, though the one on the corner of hiatt and park is enjoying a bit of a surge of work lately. It’ll be nice when they get rid of the dang port a potty there, which smells like piss in july (imagine that) and I think is associated with the work the park rd streetscape.

  • The issue is we as a community do not know exactly what the plans are for the field and use. DCPS, DPR and the Bell group did a partnership which was supposed to support both school and community use of that field and the other fields across the street. But the use agreements between the agencies have been the subject of much confusion. Even the field at Tubman was a part of the mix without much coordination. So community does not have clear access at this point to any of the space.

    Currently Office For School Modernization is handling the project.

  • Here’s evidence of a conspiracy. There’s a lovely and new, but rarely used baseball field that’s been finished for a few years. The soccer field which was always in use, was uprooted and replaced by tennis and softball fields. The parks officials patrol the grass to prevent a soccer game from breaking out.

    I think that sends a message about who is welcome in the neighborhood. It’s summer time; why would we want to keep the kids occupied with sporting activities, when they could be hanging out all day?

  • oh yeah, its a racist conspiracy alright.

    Because no cubanos *Ramirez* or puertoriquenos *soto* or dominicans *alou* or japanese *fukidome* or nicaraguan *padilla* or south korean *choi* or venezualan *zambrano* EVER play baseball. They only play futbol.

  • Yes, the usual bureaucratic red tape doesn’t always point to a racist conspiracy. I would certainly not blame “backroom wheeling and dealing”, a phrase that William Jordan trots out as frequently as “urban Disney” and “genny”, for any delays in implementing the sports field. It actually happened pretty fast by DC standards!

  • Cast aside all conspiracy theories and allow me to lay out the facts. The property is owned by the school and as an extension, the city. The plan all along was to demolish the old school since it was worthless and could not be saved and build a soccer/athletic field. The city was just very slow on delivering the money but I have word from my inside source that they have finally secured the funding (approx. $1 Million) and are moving forward. There was never any plan with DC USA or anyone else to do anything with that space. The School/City was never really interested in turning it into condos, building yet another wine bar/dog park or working with the community in general. It was and is their property and they are building the athletic field for the benefit of the children that go to school there. If we are lucky we might have use of the field but I would not count on it since they probably don’t want a lot of people destroying a really nice field. That is just about all of the details I have for now but as construction progresses I will try to get more info from the school board.

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