This is Gage-Eckington Elementary School. Don’t get too attached.
As I’ve blogged about in the past (with a frequency that may annoy my editors), D.C. has a school building problem. There are just too many vacant buildings sitting around with no use.
Last month, developers submitted proposals for 11 D.C. school sites, but that RFP just addressed the tip of the iceberg. The LeDroit Park community decided to take the fate of their own local school—-Gage Eckington Elementary, which closed last summer—-into their hands. Working with the city, they arranged for tenants to possibly move into the building, according to John Salatti, Commissioner, ANC 5C04. The Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center and the D.C. Department of the Environment were close to signing on, he says.
Then around February, that all fell through—-which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“In the beginning, some people in the neighborhood said ‘Why don’t we just turn it into a park?'” says Salatti. Of course, there were some naysayers, who “objected to tearing down the building, [because of its] historic value—in the sense of ‘our kids went there.'”
But too bad for these people. The mayor has agreed to tear down the building, and soon: Early June, according to Salatti. Tonight (as in 45 minutes from now), the city will present design schemes for the area’s new park. The meeting will be held at St. George’s Church, at 2nd and U Streets. Recently, 15 trees were planted on the lot. Some residents are lobbying for a dog park. The usual park amenities have also been up for discussion in the past: Basketball courts, tennis courts, a playground. You’ve seen a park—-You know what it looks like. If 45 minutes isn’t enough notice, have no fear, says Salatti, plans will be circulating at other ANC/Civic group meetings for the next month.