Opposition to relocate the District’s Maryland-based juvenile detention center to the Walter Reed hospital campus

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Thanks to all who sent in word about this development first reported by the Washington Business Journal:

“The District’s lofty long-term vision for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center when the campus closes next year features residential, retail, office, education and medical uses spread out across 62.5 acres.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., has one more use he’d like to add: juvenile detention.

Cardin wants the District to move the New Beginnings Youth Development Center, currently located in Laurel, to the Walter Reed campus.”

Council Member Muriel Bowser opposes the idea. From a press release:

“Ward 4 Councilmember Bowser has joined with Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to fight a proposal to relocate the District’s Maryland-based juvenile detention center to the Walter Reed hospital campus. The District is poised to redevelop a portion of the campus for educational and commercial uses.

“Delegate Holmes Norton and I are committed to protecting Ward 4 and the community’s plans for the redevelopment of Walter Reed,” said Bowser. “Relocating New Beginnings to the campus is simply inappropriate for a residential area, would scuttle the long-contemplated redevelopment plan, and would undermine the desires of the community.”

The proposed legislation, sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin, D-Md, would prohibit the Secretary of the Army from approving a redevelopment plan for Walter Reed that does not provide for the transfer of the recently opened $40 million New Beginnings Youth Development Center, located in Laurel, Maryland.”

21 Comment

  • I’m surprised they don’t want to move them to Reservation 13 in SE with the homeless shelters, methadone clinics, etc.

  • Um, while I think ET is a jerk, I totally have a NIMBY attitude towards this.

    • Hear hear! But the thing you have to remember is that when they escape (and they will), right there is the first place they’ll avoid. But then again, these kids aren’t too bright. ..

  • Go Ben Cardin!

  • There’s just a lot here that doesn’t make sense. Not sure why a US senator would be that interested in this topic. Also, I would think that MD is cashing in on New Beginnings. Not sure why they would want it moved. Finally, I don’t know why, after all the community discussion and plans have transpired, a move would be made to scuttle them and force something like relocating a juvenile detention center to Reed, which is itself a bad idea.

  • Turn Teddy Roosevelt Island into a giant youth detention and homeless shelter facility and everyone wins! It’s like DC’s own Devil’s Island.

  • Those kids belong to DC why aren’t they kept in DC. I have no problem with this.

    Perhaps they can be more closely watched then.

    • Those kids belong to DC why aren’t they kept in DC?

      Love this mentality. Fine, then. We’ll cut all social services for the poor, let gentrification take its course, and have the poor priced out of the District and into MD and VA where the cost of living is cheaper.

      The second they cross the District line, they’ll “belong” to MD, and they’ll be “Frankie James” and Ben Cardin’s problem. These issues are all *regional* issues. Of course, if you want a “race to the bottom” we’ll have a race to the bottom.

  • Lawless DC youth – the gift that keeps giving.

  • For decades, Walter Reed sat in the middle of this community, locked up, off limits to residents. The whole community is excited about the complex opening up to the community and providing a great walkable expansion to the local economy. It would be heartbreaking to see Walter Reed’s gates continue to stay locked.

    • For real. Space is at a premium in the city. Unlike DC, Maryland has millions of unused acres that should house things like detention centers. If DC and MD were part of the same jurisdiction, there’d be absolutely no question that this would be set up in MD. It’s the logical choice.

      We just don’t have the spatial resources to house people here. Not to mention the cost of land here is probably 5x that of MD on average. Why should we be paying that?

      • I am not so sure about that. Fort Lauderdale has their 10 story Broward County jail right in the middle of downtown on their major river front tourist spot.

        Without being told, no one even knows the beautiful building across the water is a prison.

        Surely they could do something akin to this for these problem kids.

        • Well, think about it this way. Let’s say DC real estate costs on average 5x more than MD real estate. Let’s say that on average, that doubles the cost to operate a facility in the District. (In many cases it’ll be even more pronounced. Take 16th Street Heights vs. Frostburg, MD. Land out there is probably cheaper by a factor of 20.)

          So as we allocate our scare budgetary resources toward helping those that need it most, we can’t afford to splurge on new digs in an expensive part of town. Doing so takes away money that could cover summer jobs for youth or Welfare to Work, etc. The kids are only hurt if we squander money on needless extravagance.

          Also, if there is any decline in property value, it’ll hurt DC disproportionately relative to MD, where you can have literally miles of buffer zone between a facility and residential real estate.

  • Here is the thing that is funny. DC is making all these plans but Walter Reed and its property are still property of the US Govt not DC. They will probably find some other use for it.

  • Not in my fucking back yard, sorry. We put up with the traffic disruptions of walter reed for years and are generally pretty excited for it to be repurposed, as erin said. This could not be a bigger buzzkill, or a bigger kill to whatever cred we’re getting as a good neighborhood to live in. It’s not property values alone, it’s perception and quality of life.

  • I’d rather have fed ex field moved their instead, although that’ll bring the NIMBY crowd too…..

  • Maryland should’ve voted for Michael Steele yo

  • Ben Cardin wants Maryland’s land back and has been fighting this fight for a long time. Considering they just refurbished the facility up in Maryland, it might be a major waste to make the kids move again. OTOH the kids could be visited a LOT more easily by their relatives and service providers, and they don’t need to take up the whole Walter Redd property. We’re talking 100-150 kids, tops.

  • With 2 elementary schools approved as part of the redevelopment of that site (LAMB PCS and Yu Ying PCS), NO WAY! This is just another case of Maryland and Virginia politicians trying to put the screws on “voteless” DC. I’m pretty sure DC pays Maryland a pretty penny to house those kids there.

  • Move the bus barn up to Walter Reed instead and then redevelop the site on 14th btwn Buchanan and Decatur into a supermarket with condos on top…

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