The long neglected Randall Recreation Center will be back in service this summer. Jesus Aguirre, Director of DC Department of Parks and Recreation, announced his plans soon after Mayor Gray closed off the KIPP bid on the Randall property with his decision to support the inclusion of the Randall area in Small Area Planning. According to Aguirre, the Randall Recreation Center will house a Teen Camp this summer. He also hopes to open the Center on weekday evenings and weekends for other activities. If all goes as planned, the Teen Camp should be the first of many activities for residents of all ages at the 8,000 square-foot facility at the corner of South Capitol and I St SW. The Center has a large room for dancing and large group activities, and smaller rooms for arts, crafts, counseling, and group classes.
This Randall Planning Group, a joint committee of Community Benefits Coordinating Council’s Enrichment Committee and the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly’s Youth Activities Task Force, has met regularly over the past year to press elective and appointed leaders to support programs and services to revitalize the facility and turn it into a community center. Ongoing funding is a concern. An estimated $250,000 annually will be needed in base support to staff the facility, schedule and advertize activities, and oversee volunteers and fundraising. The Community Benefits Coordinating Council has identified Randall as a priority for developer community investments and renovation funding has been promised.
The first step is to turn the empty building into a site of activity and creativity. The Planning Group is issuing a call for programs and volunteers as it works through funding and logistical issues.
By Eve Brooks
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