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“Save Bruce Monroe Park – There are alternative options to redevelop Park Morton and keep Bruce Monroe Park”

by Prince Of Petworth November 3, 2015 at 1:05 pm 99 Comments

Bruce_monroe_park
3000 Georgia Ave, NW

Ed. Note: Tons of folks have written – apologies for the delay in posting.

“Dear PoPville,

I am not sure if anyone else has written in to you about this, but Mayor Bowser and the D.C. Government recently announced a proposal to redevelop the Park Morton public housing community at the Bruce Monroe Park site in the Columbia Heights/Park View/Pleasant Plains neighborhood in NW DC.

The community can’t afford to lose Bruce Monroe Park. The park includes basketball courts, tennis courts, a pavilion, and a community garden. The park is used and loved by an entire neighborhood that is diverse ethnically, socioeconomically and across all ages. The park is also used as a recess, gym and after school play site for the kids at Ceasar Chavez Public Charter School.

This is not an issue of choosing Park Morton redevelopment OR keeping the Bruce Monroe Community Park. There are alternative options to redevelop Park Morton and keep Bruce Monroe Park. For example, there are several abandoned, vacant and dilapidated buildings that line Georgia Avenue that would be a much better solution than paving over a beloved park.

The city should:

1) Meet Park Morton’s families’ needs now.
2) Take Bruce Monroe Park off the table as a build first site
3) Reconsider alternative sites

Everyone deserves open space to play in, feel the sun on our faces and talk with neighbors which inevitably create a stronger community.

We are asking for support in this and ask that anyone who strongly believes in keeping this green space to:

1) Sign this petition.

2) Attend a community meeting with Muriel Bowser tomorrow at Park View Recreation Center at 7pm to voice their concerns to keep the park a public use space.

3) Send an email to your representatives – you can find a sample letter and email addresses on our facebook page.

bruce_monroe_school_2008
old Bruce Monroe school in 2008

Another reader shares a letter to the Mayor:

November 2015

Honorable Mayor Muriel Bowser
John A. Wilson Building
Washington DC 20004

Dear Mayor Bowser:

We, the residents of the community that surrounds Bruce Monroe Park, request that you suspend the current planning to build at the park site until you or a representative have come to our community to meet with us and hear our concerns.

Once again the city government has made plans for our tight-knit and diverse community without including us. In 2008, the city government closed the Bruce Monroe Elementary School at the site with a promise to rebuild the school.

Then, after the school building was demolished in 2010, the community was called to a hastily scheduled meeting. At the meeting we found out that the city government had started plans to build a satellite parking lot at the site for the use of the hospitals that are located approximately ½ mile away. Protests by our community stopped those plans and resulted in the park that we have today.

Recently our community conducted a survey to gauge the neighborhood’s vision for the long-term use of the site. The survey was distributed door-to-door to approximately 5,000 households and was also posted online. Survey collection closed on September 9 with over 800 residents responding to it.

Members of your administration are well aware that the results of the survey are being processed by Howard University and the outcomes will be released to the public within the next month. However, in the past two weeks the city government rushed to form a planning committee that does not include anybody who lives in close proximity to the park. The committee has met twice and has not allowed any meaningful input from our community.

We are not opposed to the construction of housing for residents of all income levels. Like you, we value the diversity of neighborhoods with people of all income levels and encourage the city government to do what it can to make that possible. What we do oppose is the city government constantly making plans for our community (specifically the Bruce Monroe site) without speaking to us first and without allowing us any real input in those plans.

Again, we request that you: a.) Suspend the current planning to build at the Bruce Monroe site; b.)Come to our community to address this issue and give us your vision, and c.) Listen to our concerns and promise us meaningful input into the discussion. You will find that the people of this community are of near unanimous agreement that these steps must be taken before any trust can be placed in the current process.

We look forward to your swift reply to this letter.

Another reader writes:

“At the Park View UNC meeting tomorrow, Mayor Muriel Bowser will be taking questions about her office’s recent announcement to use the Bruce Monroe Park as the ‘first build’ site for redevelopment of the Park Morton public housing complex. The local community has reacted negatively – not because they don’t welcome mixed income housing – but because this decision was made with no community consultation and because the creation of the park itself is the result of a hard fought battle with the Mayor’s office.

Residents in the Pleasant Plains and Park View neighborhoods have asked the Mayor’s office, DMPED, the public housing authority and others associated with the project to reconsider using the existing Hebrew Home site, already slated for public housing, as the first build site. The predominately African American, lower-income residents of Ward 1 deserve dignified housing AND green public space. On November 16th, a community meeting will be held by the City to decide the fate of Bruce Monroe Park.

Residents with questions for the Mayor should contact Park View UNC president Chris Waldmann at 202-421-5822 or email questions to [email protected] with “Question for the Mayor” in the subject line.

Wednesday November 4th @ 7pm – Mayor Bowser at the Park View UNC Meeting
The Park View United Neighborhood Coalition will host Mayor Muriel Bowser at their meeting Wednesday, November 4th at 7 PM at the Park View Recreation Center (693 Otis Place NW).

Update: “The forum will address many topics of concern to our neighborhood; crime, education, development in the Ga Ave corridor and much more, including Bruce Monroe.”

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