The renovation of the playground and plaza on I Street SW at South Capitol Street provides an attractive space for residents of all ages—toddlers to adults. Now, the little brick building (Randall Community Center) on the corner has begun its own facelift. This summer the bars were removed from the windows and paint was applied. Finishing off the Community Benefits Agreement the Bernstein Companies will soon involve replacing the ugly green doors with welcoming, made-to-order glass doors. The closed and forbidding look of the old Randall Recreation Center will exist no longer.

With support from Councilman Charles Allen, the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has announced that it is planning a major renovation of the inside of the building. The funds for that work will be include the city’s 2017 budget.

Additionally, this fall, new community programming will begin during the morning hours. Sasha Bruce Youthwork will help continue programming on weekday afternoons and on Saturdays through 2016.

Ongoing program funds are still not promised. The community, with full support from ANC 6D, is pressing for programming funds starting in the fiscal year 2017 budget.

In the meantime, DPR is paying attention. Recently, they have added to the equipment at the community center. Foosball, air hockey, and the old standby, a pool table, are now in place.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork has expanded programming at the site, adding Little Architects (formerly Tot Lot) on Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m. Parents and guardians can bring their toddlers to enjoy building blocks and experience the joy of creating.

For adults, Sasha Bruce has added salsa dancing on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. This is in addition to the popular yoga night at 6 p.m. and Zumba on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings at 6 p.m.

Monday is game night. Beginning at 6 p.m., all interested can join in chess, dominos, and checkers. Chess lessons with Brett are available Mondays and Fridays 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Because of demand for more Zumba, an additional class on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. has been joyfully included in programming.

The community is rallying to build increased programming at the site by forming the Friends of Randall Community Center group. Working under the auspices of the Community Benefits Coordinating Council and with the cooperation of DPR, the group will be able to receive financial contributions, make recommendations, and launch additional programming within Randall. Randall is on its way to bringing the community a diverse, inclusive arena for the enjoyment of all of Southwest and near Southeast. So keep your eye on The Southwester and check the Sasha Bruce Youthwork at Randall Community Center Facebook page for new and upcoming events as Randall programming grows.

By: Eve Brooks

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