Another opinion on LAYC at Cook

See this message from Eckginton resident and former ANC Commissioner Kris Hammond:

It appears that the North Capitol Street corridor– Truxton Circle/Hanover/Bates, Bloomingdale, Eckington –is getting another raw deal with the D.C. government’s award of the J.F. Cooke School site (30 P St., N.W.) to the Latin American Youth Center.  It’s time to demand some answers.

The first concern is that the D.C. government is not listening to The People.  I have nothing against the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) and have no reason to believe that the LAYC will have any negative impact on the community.  However, LAYC has not made much of an effort to reach out to the community (meanwhile, the KIPP DC charter school made every conceivable effort to do so).

Yet D.C. officials have apparently awarded the J.F. Cooke School site to LAYC with little or no consultation with the community.  Everyone assumed that the KIPP DC school would receive Cooke, until suddenly, a few months ago, LAYC received the bid.

Second, LAYC offers the community no apparent concrete benefits to the community, while KIPP provides a boatload.  Here are a few of the benefits from KIPP’s executive summary, which I have also attached to this post:

• Renovation of the existing space
• Ward 5 Community Theatre
• Ward 5 Studio Art space
• Ward 5 adult Professional Development / Small Business Incubation
• Ward 5 Community Gardens
• Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) special access space for administrative
• Ward 5 Community Meeting space
• Build an approximately $7.1 million, 22,350 sf addition on the 2.5 acre site that
would contain both additional early childhood education space (serving almost an
additional 250 students in the same pre-k(3)-4th grade program); and
• Ground Level Retail use that would complement the mixed use of the existing
building (approximately 1000 sf)

My understanding is that LAYC is offering nothing to the community in the way of amenities.

I see that Commissioners Anita Bonds, Sylvia Pinkney, and Denise Wright are on board with the petition to reconsider the Cooke proposal.  In addition, Hanover Civic Association, Bates Area Civic Association, and former Commissioner Jim Berry are likewise on board.  This is the time for the community to stand up and demand answers from D.C. government and our Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.

Kris Hammond

One thought on “Another opinion on LAYC at Cook

  1. I am most concerned with the LAYC’s intention to have a residential component at the JF Cooke site. I don’t think it serves the community or the LAYC kids well. A daytime school is one thing, but adding more full-time special needs residents to the community seems counter-prodcutive to redevelopment of a blighted area. Also, I can see a benefit in sending special needs kids to a healthier area that could show them the possibilities life can afford – not housing them in an area rife with social services and delapidated buildings?

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