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Turkey Thicket to become regional park

Expanded facilities to include auditorium,

indoor track, exercise/weight rooms, indoor pool

(Published May 31, 1999)

By LUTISHIA PHILLIPS

Staff Writer

Turkey Thicket, a popular park in Northeast Washington’s Brookland neighborhood, is slated to be greatly expanded into a regional recreation center with a three-lane indoor track, a 200-seat auditorium, exercise and weight rooms, and indoor swimming pool within the next few years.

The Turkey Thicket site is one of seven neighborhood centers and parks being reconstructed under the D.C. Department of Recreation and Parks’ $60 million Urban Regional Park System.

Michael Williams, special assistant to the recreation department’s director of capital projects, said the plan was proposed last winter and was recently presented to the mayor and the budget office.

"We’ve been meeting now with numerous groups and residents to get input regarding the plan," he said. Williams said each region would receive a mega center consisting of a gymnasium and half a dozen community rooms, indoor pool, baseball fields and a basketball court and necessary parking.

"The earlier we meet with everyone, the earlier we can start the design phase," he said.

Williams recently presented the project to Ward 5 residents who live near the park at Michigan Avenue and Perry Street NE. He said the mega center is the first phase of the $2.5 million plan scheduled to begin before the end of this year and be completed by the summer of 2000. An indoor swimming pool is planned for the second phase of the project, after 2000.

Recently some members of the community met to review the park’s design and to make any recommendations based on residents’ concerns. The group recommended relocating the basketball court to avoid disturbing nearby residents. Others requested an opening for parking on 10th Street and access for the handicapped, redesigning the space for the baseball and soccer fields, adding a satellite police station.

Williams said the funding has already been allocated for the first phase of construction from the recreation department’s fiscal 2000 and 2001 budgets.

Williams said the parks’ tennis courts, picnic area, soccer and baseball field will all be refurbished. An outdoor jogging trail will be created around the baseball field along with new fencing and upgraded lighting.

Turkey Thicket is one of the following seven recreational areas labeled as "anchor sites" for neighborhoods that will receive major improvements under the recreation department plan. The seven sites and the areas they are intended to serve:

•Sherwood/Rosedale and Capitol East Natatorium, which includes Ward 6 west of the Anacostia River and portions of the eastern and southeastern areas of Ward 2;

•Emery and Takoma which includes all of Ward 4 and northwestern areas of Ward 1;

•Hillcrest/Alabama Avenue which includes the area that encompasses all of Ward 7 and the eastern part of Ward 6;

•Bald Eagle-Fort Greble-Oxon Hill Park which includes all of Ward 8 and the southeastern part of Ward 2;

•Turkey Thicket which includes the northern, eastern and southern portions of Ward 5, (only exception eastern most portion of the Ward, which is served by the Shaw site) and the northeastern most portion of Ward 7;

•Palisades and Hardy which includes all of Ward 3 and the southwestern most portion of Ward 2

•Kennedy, Dunbar and Banneker which includes all of Ward One (with the exception of the the northwestern most portion) and the southwestern most portion of Ward 5.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator