Silverman Letter Regarding Jellef Recreation Center

A copy of this letter may be downloaded here. It was originally sent on August 30, 2019 to D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation Director Delano Hunter and D.C. Department of General Services Director Keith Anderson.

Dear Directors Hunter and Anderson:

Like many District residents, I was surprised to find out District government extended its agreement with the Maret School for exclusive field use at high demand times at Jelleff Recreation Center until 2029. Not only is it concerning that hundreds of DCPS students will largely be denied access to the fields for after-school activities, the news of the extension came as a shock to many families who have been engaged in the discussion since the city first entered into an agreement with Maret in 2010.

I have spoken to affected families as well as the Chair of the Committee on Recreation and Youth Affairs, Trayon White. Chairman White said he is considering calling a hearing to discuss how the city came to its final decision, and I am very supportive of that.

I also request that this contract be revisited given the lack of transparency around the contract extension and limited public input.

As you know, the Council is on recess until September 15 and cannot schedule a hearing before then. Given that, I am writing to get answers from both of you about the process. Specifically, I would like to know the following:

  1. When did DPR and DGS make the decision to extend the field use agreement with Maret?
  2. Did DPR or DGS tell parents or the leadership at Hardy Middle School about its decision to extend its agreement with Maret? If yes, when did the agencies make the announcement and how was it conveyed?
  3. In making its final decision, did DPR or DGS consider how DCPS students, including students at Hardy Middle School, would be affected by the lack of access to fields for after-school activities?
  4. In making its final decision, did DPR or DGS consider how other young people who use Jelleff for after-school activities would be affected?
  5. Has DPR worked with DCPS to develop an alternate plan for DCPS students that need access to public fields for recreational and after-school activities since Jelleff will largely be unavailable?
  6. Given the lack of transparency around the contract extension, will DPR and DGS reconsider the contract terms with Maret? My understanding from Georgetown neighbors and Hardy parents was that there were a few public forums, but it was never made clear that the option for a contract extension existed within the current contract.
  7. Given that Maret is granted priority at the most desired field times, did DPR and DGS consider revising the terms and playing times so Hardy and Jelleff after-school programs would have some access during the school year?

Given the concerns I’ve heard from families affected by this contract extension, I would appreciate a response from you by September 15th. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or my Legislative Director Sam Rosen-Amy at srosenamy@dccouncil.us.

 

Sincerely,

Elissa Silverman

Councilmember At-Large

 

cc: Councilmember Trayon White, Ward 8, Chair of the Committee on Recreation and Youth Affairs

Councilmember Jack Evans, Ward 2

Councilmember Mary Cheh, Ward 3