Advocate for Jelleff

 Jelleff mural. Photos by Kishan Putta.

Jelleff mural. Photos by Kishan Putta.

By Kishan Putta, kishanputta@gmail.com

More than 100 people attended the first Jelleff Community Recreation Center Project meeting on July 23 at Georgetown Neighborhood Library. It was so great to hear all the different ideas and needs from community members of all ages and backgrounds. DC's Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) was nice enough to share the attendee list with us so that the Jelleff community can connect about this great opportunity. Starting this fall when summer vacation ends and more people can attend, there will be at least five more meetings about this neighborhood amenity at 3265 S Street. (Click here for The Georgetowner's coverage of the meeting.)

Background. Jelleff was built in 1953 (named for a local retail owner Frank Jelleff) and was solely a Boys & Girls Club until a decade ago when it was sold to the District and overseen by the DPR and managed by contract with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

Jelleff hasn't had a major upgrade in 65 years! Many neighbors hope this project will be an opportunity to create a facility that best serves our growing community today and into the future. At DPR's budget hearing in April, we asked for more than just the $2 million of HVAC & ADA repairs allocated in FY 18. We appreciate that $5 million was added for FY 19. However, as DPR stated at the meeting, the $7 million amount is unlikely to be enough to allow for much additional space to be added.

 detail of Mural showing site manager Bob Stowers.

detail of Mural showing site manager Bob Stowers.

Leadership. Since the meeting, Maria O'Donnell (a Glover Park mom and past Stoddert PTO president) and I (a new dad in Burleith and former ANC 2B commissioner) have talked with DPR, the DC Council, and Jelleff site manager Bob Stowers about how to push for more amenities, increase the indoor rec/athletic/multiuse space, and hopefully include a second court, as so many in the community desire.

 The shower room is just one of the 1950s-era remnants that could use an upgrade.

The shower room is just one of the 1950s-era remnants that could use an upgrade.

Both Maria and I have experience advocating for community resources and amenities from our government. Maria has been involved with Stoddert Rec and other projects. I've worked on two DPR projects ($10 million and $1.6 million) at a popular field and rec center in Dupont Circle. We both hope to use what we've learned about the process to help get Jelleff the resources it needs. At Dupont Circle, I had to push very hard to get funding and then push to get additional funds and THEN push to make sure the project got started and finished in a timely manner. See below for links about that process.

Easy Ways to Help! Jelleff may not have another upgrade opportunity for another generation, so please let us know if you would like to help us advocate for Jelleff. Here's what you can do:

 Basement trophy case showcasing past glory!

Basement trophy case showcasing past glory!