Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is the Tubman School field open to anybody?

Answer: unclear. I've gotten two different answers, that you can use it when it's not school hours and it's not dark, or that you can't use it unless you have a use-agreement with the school system. Obviously I'd like to be able to use it, it's a nice, new field and presumably won't get messed up like the real grass that used to be there.

Here's the full breakdown: I posted on the CH listerve about the fields and got a response from Donny Gonzalez of the schools' Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization:

All school fields are open to public use, as it should be. There will be restrictions during school hours. The new fencing should help prevent unauthorized use. That was a major problem before.

Principal Hughes or the DCPS realty office should be contacted to reserve the field. Contact the Mayor's Call Center at 311 to be transferred.
I responded "Thank you for the quick response. What do you mean by public/unauthorized? Could I go out there and throw a football around with a buddy? Before you had the climb the fence to do that." (because the fences were always locked.) Gonzalez replied:
Basically if you want to throw a ball around on any given day then you could walk right in after school is out until dark when the field is locked - given the field hasn't been reserved for a scheduled/authorized game or event.

If an organization wants to use the field for a game or an event then they have to get authorization through the Office of DCPS Realty and Principal Hughes. This way, the city can ensure proper use, custodial services, security, and prevent double booking. It's a good way to protect this investment.

Anyone climbing the fence when the field is locked would clearly be trespassing.
Ok, fair enough. However, I also got an email response from Jason Crawford from the DCPS Chancellor's office after I emailed Councilman Graham:

It’s understandable that everyone wants to use the new turf fields, and we would like nothing more than to have open access for the community, but in order to properly maintain the fields for our students and ensure their longevity, only those with a use-agreement will be allowed access.

Thank you for your understanding.
So to me, that means nobody can use it. That stinks. I've asked Graham for a clarification.


  1. I asked Graham about this and he promptly referred me to Rhee and co. If that field just sits unused after school hours every day, what a freakin' waste.

  2. The Tubman field should have Tubman written on it instead of Fenty's name sprawled 30 yards across the field. The field is not Fenty's. It was not named after him and he spent tax payer dollars to upgrade the field. He did not spend money out of pocket. His actions are inappropriate and the city should be outraged.

  3. It's relative that his name was on a field in Graham's ward. He's OK with everything the mayor does. I hope his constituents see otherwise.

  4. OK...seriously - Did you read the article? People love this field! All the people that don't live near TUBMAN FIELD don't get it. Check out the satellite image of 13th and Irving NW and you will see what a WRECK this field used to be!!! Not to mention the gangs that would tag the area and leave their broken glass on the field. I'm sure this money was already allocated for improvement of community assets. SO WHAT - Columbia Heights community deserved better and got it. I DON'T CARE IF HIS NAME IS ON IT!!! THANK YOU MAYOR FENTY!!!!


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