D.C. Parks and Recreation budgeted $7 million to renovate and upgrade the facilities at Georgetown’s Jelleff Community Center, tucked off of S Street next to the Wisconsin Avenue Safeway. The center hosts dozens of basketball teams year-round on its one indoor court. Now, the results are in from a survey about what Jelleff supporters and users want done with the money.
“More than 50% of the 400 respondents wanted Jelleff to include Yoga, fitness and other exercise classes and spaces,” states a press release from Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners Elizabeth Miller and Kishan Putta.
“Just over 30% expressed strong support for basketball and soccer facilities. 20% wanted more general community related programming ranging from photography to art classes to movie screenings and senior wellness.”
This would represent a big change in the usage and composition of the current space — a “rebranding,” as one survey respondent noted. More than 400 residents completed the online Survey Monkey survey, almost all in the 20007 zip code.
“If we take a close look at the survey, it is clear that we should be thinking more broadly about exercise, fitness and community programming as a way to serve the most residents and make Jelleff as vibrant as possible,” wrote Miller.
“The Georgetown community deserves a modernized rec center and seems to want a multipurpose space that serves residents of all ages,” added Putta.
“We plan to release the results over the next week or so, meet with DPR next week to fill them in on everything we learned and then come back to our respondents and potentially ask a few follow-up questions,” Miller told The Georgetowner,
A public meeting with DPR officials to update residents about the renovation plans is scheduled for Wednesday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Georgetown Public Library.
The renewal of DPR’s contract with the Maret School regarding its use of the Jelleff Center will also be discussed at the meeting. Currently, the private K-12 international school at 3000 Cathedral Ave. NW has exclusive use of Jelleff’s playing fields during the late afternoon of every school day in spring and fall. In 2009, Maret agreed to pay for the total refurbishment of the fields and most of the upkeep in exchange for this exclusive-use arrangement. The contract allows for a 10-year extension starting in 2020.
But in the past five years, the Georgetown area has experienced a rapid increase in school-age children and in the need for more playing fields for Hardy Middle School — less than a block away at 1819 35th St. NW — and for youth sport leagues. At the March 1 ANC meeting, several residents called for transparency and for a reconsideration of Maret’s contract with DPR.