Jelleff Community Friends Launch Survey on Rec Center Refurbishment

Now’s your chance to weigh in on Jelleff Community Center’s extensive refurbishments project and what you’d like to see improved at the aging recreational and community facility managed by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington at 3265 S St. NW. 

As city agencies carry out cost and design studies, community groups are providing input into extensive renovations planned for the Ward 2 recreational and community center serving all 8 city wards.

Originally constructed as a simple recreation center for youngsters in the early 1950s, Jelleff has not undergone extensive renovation for over 70 years though it has extended its services piecemeal. Today, the center features a computer lab, classroom, game room, gymnasium, indoor basketball court, music room and large multi-purpose room indoors and a large outdoor multi-purpose turf athletic field with scoreboard, and an outdoor pool. But much of the site needs repair or updating. In 2021, the D.C. Council, following advocacy by Ward 2 Council member Booke Pinto and ANC 2E commissioners Kishan Putta and Elizabeth Miller, approved $28.8 million in 2021 to spruce up the center.

Jelleff Recreation Center Pool. Photo by Jen J. for 5-star Yelp review: “Small Pool But Worked for Us!”

“Jelleff is used by children and families from all 8 wards and hasn’t had a renovation since it was built. It’s not ADA accessible and the HVAC systems are failing,” Miller wrote The Hoya newspaper in February 2021. “It’s long past time to modernize it and make it a 21st century community center.”

In addition to the Burleith Neighborhood Association, The Jelleff Community Friends group – with the support of the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG), Georgetown Main Street (GMS), and Georgetown Village – has become a leading community voice providing input to the various arms of the D.C. government at work on the Jelleff project, including the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), the DC Department of General Services (DGS), and the D.C. Council.

On June 23, the Jelleff Community Friends group issued a press release entitled “Make Your Voice Heard!”  to announce that the next community meeting to provide input on the project will be held July 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Georgetown Public Library at 3260 R St NW, with an option to attend virtually being planned. 

The group is also reaching out far-and-wide to garner public points-of-view on the project, launching a brief online survey (linked below). “We would like to survey the community so that we can present data at the community meeting [July 11th] about what is important to current and prospective users [of the center]. Please take 4 minutes out of your day and take this short survey. It matters.” 

Without extensive refurbishment for so many years, Jelleff has become “badly out of date,” the group said. It “urgently needs new facilities and new ways of using the site to serve more members of the community.” 

Updating the public on the design process and community input, the group’s press release said, “DPR is deciding right now whether to renovate and expand parts of the old building or to construct a completely new building. DPR is also considering which programs and amenities to offer after renovation or construction for both inside the Center (e.g., basketball courts and meeting rooms) and outside the Center (e.g., the pool and baseball field).”

Ward 2 Council Member Brooke Pinto (center) meets with children, parents and volunteers at Jelleff Community Center. Courtesy Jelleff Community Center.

We spoke with outgoing ANC Chair, Elizabeth Miller (2E07), a leading member of the Jelleff Community Friends group about the significance of receiving public input through the survey. “Jelleff Community Friends is trying to reach a broader audience…,” she said. “ We’ll share the data we collect with the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of General Services, and DLR Architects [DLR Group is the architectural firm contracted by the city on the project]. The feedback will help inform their decisions as they design the building for our community. We strongly encourage folks to take 4 minutes and let the decision-makers know what you want out of this once-in-a-generation project.”

Though the city turned down requests from community groups to conduct a survey of residents on the project, the Jelleff Community Friends group has taken on the task. “Jelleff Community Friends had asked the City to undertake a survey and we were told it wasn’t feasible. While we appreciate in-person meetings, we also feel it’s important to hear from as many people as possible and make data-driven decisions…,” Miller said.

What kind of feedback might citizens provide? “A second gym? Space for yoga? EV charging stations? Make your voice heard – take the survey!!,” Miller encouraged.

Jelleff Recreational Center Soccer Field. Twitter photo.

In June 2021, The Georgetowner reported results of the final feasibility report released by the Perkins Eastman firm on the Jelleff project: “….The Jelleff Center’s highly used main gym will remain in place as well as the lower-level Boys and Girls Club that has operated there for decades. But the East side of the existing building will be demolished to make way for a new common atrium area, locker rooms, workout space, practice gym and a flexible meeting room space. The site work will involve relocating a portion of the existing pool and will include new decking, trellis work and a splash pad. Existing fencing along the playing field will be reworked and the parking lot reconfigured.”

Survey respondents are encouraged to send the survey to friends, neighbors and associates after filling it out themselves, Elizabeth Miller said.

The community input survey from Jelleff Comunity Friends can be found here: “survey.”



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