From the Forum – Where to Rollerblade and Residents Concerned about Group Home moving into Ward 4

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rukasu1

Best places to rollerblade?

“Hi everybody, I’m wondering where some good places for a novice in-line skater are. I’ve done the Capital Crescent Trail which is fine (except for the bridge over River Road, which is scary!) but I’m wondering where else people go. Difficulty: No steep hills but I am comfortable crossing the occasional street.”

Group Home moving into Ward 4:

“We are writing to relay our concerns regarding a group home proposed by the business Life Deeds at 1345 Taylor Street NW, directly behind Powell Elementary School, on a block with known drug-dealing, and within blocks of several existing social services facilities.

Other social service organizations on Taylor Street NW are good neighbors, but the management of this particular program by Life Deeds concerns us. The Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) provided no official public notice before it awarded the contract for this home, and our repeated attempts for communication with Life Deeds and DYRS have produced little clarity or information since.

According to the testimony of DYRS Director Neil Stanley at a hearing of the DC Human Services Committee yesterday (2/21/2014), we understand that decisions about whether to award contracts to group homes — including this one — do NOT consider the impact of their location on a community, because DYRS believes it is at the “mercy of the market.” The market has no mercy. As long as DYRS continues to locate group homes with complete disregard for their impact on residents, the same populations of the city will continue to shoulder the added burden they pose on public safety, and there will be no mechanism to ensure that thriving elementary schools like Powell — 98% of whose students are people of color — are protected.

As parents, DC voters, and neighbors of Powell Elementary School, we deserve to know why this site was selected, how such a facility will be used, what precautions are being taken to ensure that the facility is safe, and what recourse is available should the facility ultimately pose a danger to us and our children.

Based on the proximity of the group home to Powell Elementary, the saturation of existing social services in the neighborhood, the known drug activity on the block and in the area, and the lack of official public notice pre-award, we ask that your administration reconsider the location.

We will take this case to the media, and intend to make the selection of group home and jail diversion facility sites in the District an election issue.

We will not rest until we have ensured the safety of our neighborhood, our children, and the children and parents of Powell Elementary School. We urge you in the strongest terms possible to use the full force of your office to advocate for the safety and interest of District families.”

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36 Comment

  • Re rollerblading – try Haines Point

    • I recall the sidewalks around Haines Point being in particularly poor condition last fall. Unless something changed since then, this may not be ideal for rollerblading.

      • Inline skaters would be on the roads in the bike lanes at Hains Pt, not on the sidewalks. The roads are in great condition for skating.

  • gotryit

    Has Muriel Bowser weighed in on this? Seems like she should be able to get something done or explain why she won’t.

  • Try the Tidal Basin during Cherry Blossom season. 😉

  • I attended the meeting with Councilwoman Bowser, LifeDeeds, DYRS about 60 of my neighbors. What a mess.

    As the OP indicated, DYRS did not consider the fact that this facility is located on the edge of a playground for elementary students even though it could house convicts ages 12-21, that could have committed any crime (murder, rape etc.).

    To make matters worse, the community asked the DYRS director, Stanley , flat out if they would hold off putting people into the facility until they could get together and find additional enforceable guidelines to protect the students and the community. He flat out said no. There was no interest in DYRS in working with the community.

    When the LifeDeeds guy spoke it was even worse. He started off rambling and then refused, or could not answer, basic questions.

    To anyone running for mayor, kill this project and you will pick up a bunch of ward 4 votes.

  • Rock Creek/Beach drive on the weekends – lots of people are rollerblading and even the parts that are open to cars aren’t heavily trafficed.

  • The kids need to be put somewhere, ideally near schools and parks where they be socialized and receive the services they need.
    This, my friends, is the appropriate time to use the word “NIMBY”.

    • gotryit

      Given the history of DYRS failure, I would not want them in my back yard either. Maybe I’m a NIABY – not in anyone’s back yard?

    • rollerblading: RFK. MBT. yards park riverwalk.

    • My issue is that I still don’t see how this isn’t a non-permitted commercial use in a 100% residential zoned block. This facility should be in a dual zoned area, like around the corner on 14th, not in the middle of a bunch of family homes.

    • Everybody deserves a second chance but not at the expense of the safety and innocence of children who haven’t had a first chance yet.

    • Re. “The kids need to be put somewhere, ideally near schools and parks where they be socialized and receive the services they need.” — This is next to an elementary school. The convicts it would house would be ages 12-21, not elementary-school age.

  • re: rollerblading–along the south side of the Anacostia river on the riverwalk trail. Very well paved, separate from cars (but without a ton of fast bikers) and with enough traffic (especially on sunny weekends) to feel safe but not crowded. Nice river views, and a cool pirate ship playground, too! There is also a roller rink right off the trail (in Anacostia Park…who knew there were national parks with roller rinks) so you can go off the trail and skate on the rink too.

  • Wherever you blade, please stay on the right side of the path. I’ve been behind bladers countless times who go back and forth while going forward. And usually they have headphones on and can’t hear my bell or “On your left.”

    • The nature of in-line skating is that it takes up more space than biking because the movement is not in a straight line. So yes, I will move over for bikers who need to pass me, but I will not stay to the right just in case.

  • pablo .raw

    Re: Rollerblading; I believe the DC Rollergirls practice at Hains Point some times, they may know of other places.

  • Check out skatedc(dot)org. Lots or organized group skates from beginner to advanced.

  • there was an article in the post a year or so ago that 1 in 4 “kids” in DYRS “custody” is involved is either involved in a violent crime or the victim of one in any given year. If people think these are locked down faciliteis are you are 100% wrong. They can come and go and they have certain times to show up but when they dont there is very little in the way of tracking them. Until they get arrested and then its in the paper that a kid in the custody of DYRS just killed someone.

  • Colby King had an article in the Post recently about a 19yr old who while in DYRS custody, wearing an ankle bracelet with GPS monitoring unit, burglarized 9 separate homes before police arrested him. He wasn’t caught b/v of the GPS system, or DYRS monitoring, somebody reported seeing the suspect with a dog that was reported missing. The punk stole someone’s dog. DYRS is broken

  • I appreciate everything you are doing here. I am on the other side of GA Ave, but this is a joke of a location to put this.

    This is not putting in a new bar or something, these are criminals, punks, and lowlifes, who will be next door to families and an elementary school. This needs to be fixed.

    Please everyone keep this in mind when people talk about how great Bowser is, or how much she has done for her ward… Seems like she is being the opposite of helpful here, even well running for mayor, on this thing that is happening in her ward. What a joke.

    • It is not just Bowser. Gray does not care either. Director Neil Stanley is using “legal” citations to say a facility like this can be anywhere. This is contrary to the public safety mission also of DYRS. Can’t wait to see this in Georgetown or Chevy Chase. I’m positive that would never happen like this one. Dare I also mention the shady deals this smells of?

      • I agree. Just look at the shady website of the contractor running the place. Life Says nothing and put together in a day.

  • Where exactly do those who oppose the group house on Taylor suggest placing these kids? Is there a more appropriate neighborhood, or would you be content with prison?

    If these kids have the opportunity to make better lives for themselves, don’t you think it would be beneficial for us all to be involved in a positive way? Perhaps instead of being told they can’t live in our neighborhood, we should make it clear that living on Taylor Street is a privilege, that we don’t tolerate illegal activity, and that we will not allow them to fall through the cracks of the system. My hope is that the neighborhood can embrace them, teach and lead by example of what the word community truly means.

    We are spending so much time coming up reasons why we oppose this plan, where has that gotten anyone? Is it possible to come up with a game plan on how we can make this work?!

  • At the end of the day, these kids are still kids who need to have their basic needs met (shelter, sustenance), and likely would not otherwise. Yes, the majority of these kids have committed some sort of crime, but not all of them are rapists or murderers out to get you. I’m sure we’ve all had something done wrong to us by a disrespectful youth, but I’m sure we all also know someone, either a friend, family member, or family friend, who could have used a little tough love and guidance as a teen.
    Where else do you suppose these kids should go?

    • 1. Not in a place with history of problems the neighborhood is combatting.
      2. Not 20 ft from elementary school.
      3. Not housing med high risk without excluding certain types of crimes
      4. Not guaranteeing safety of residents and working w/ neighbors
      5. Not having ages up to 22. These are not kids.
      6. Not in a neighborhood already saturated within other social services.

  • This is ridicules to have kids that are in the juvenile justice system plunked down in a residential neighborhood like this, and one with issues already. Why don’t they just post a sign outside the group home that says “Get your drugs to the left” As for those asking where to put them if not here? I am not an elected official so it isn’t my job to figure it out. It is my job to keep my family and friends safe and just cause they won’t do their job doesn’t mean I can’t do mine.

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