J. F. Cook School Community Meeting Notice

Youth Build and Latin American Youth Center will be hosting a community meeting to update the community on the project scheduled for development at the school lacated at 30 P ST NW.


30 – 44 P Street, NW


6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

 Learn about the project and ask questions.

  • Meet the Cook School team, including project sponsors YouthBuild Public Charter School and Latin American Youth Center.
  • Help the Cook School become a dynamic part of the neighborhood again!

 Questions/Comments?  Email us project@jfcookschool.org.

9 thoughts on “J. F. Cook School Community Meeting Notice

  1. I don’t suppose they would post whatever their current plans for the school prior to this meeting. It would be nice to be able to ask informed questions

  2. Mike – the plans for the school were approved in October of 2009 when Youth Build/LAYC were awarded the RFP for the property. We discussed the plans at the civic association meeting and will briefly touch on it at tomorrow’s meeting. Join us at 7pm at Mt. Sinai Church on 3rd and Q.

    1. I was hoping to see some indication that LAYC had modified their plans based on the numerous resolutions and objections the community had to their proposed use of J.F. Cook. It appears this is not the case.

      Beyond the written response to concerns, I have yet to see any honest attempt to make J.F. Cook fit both the wishes of the community and the needs of LAYC.

      Their 2009 proposal should have been a starting point from which we could have shaped the reuse of Cook to become something that the community and LAYC could be proud of. They have had almost a year to engage and mould this plan. Instead, we get two meetings and are expected to greet them as a ‘savior’ of the neighboorhood.

  3. Mike – I am one of the consultants working with YBPCS and LAYC on this project. I’m happy to give you a brief synopsis here, and you can receive more information later.

    YBPCS and LAYC are redeveloping The J. F. Cook School into a mixed-use property that will provide affordable housing for 47 residents aged 18 – 24, educational opportunities and job training for students aged 16 – 27, and meeting spaces for the surrounding community.

    LAYC has a 40 year history of doing youth development work in DC, and already owns and operates multiple successful affordable housing properties serving young people. YBPCS has a 15 year history, and the Cook School will serve as a second campus to meet overwhelming demand.

    We’ve set up an email address specifically to engage and take questions from neighbors about this project. Please email us at project@jfcookschool.org. Let us know in any emails if we can post your question (unattributed, of course) and our answers to neighborhood forums like this one in an effort to keep information about the project flowing.

    1. Thank you for confirming that no change in plans for the Cook school has occurred. Given that you have had over a year to engage the community, this is truly disappointing.

      Nobody in the community has any doubt that LAYC has been very successful throughout its long history. What we want you to consider is the community you are entering, specifically the unit blocks of O, Hanover, and P streets. These are blocks that are already saturated with the types of transitional housing and rehabilitation services which comprise the bulk of your proposal.

      As you can see from the sentiment expressed over the last year, our concern is mainly with the housing and social services associated with the 47-50 adults that will be housed at the school.

      The educational, job training, and meeting space that you propose would be a huge asset to the community. Unfortunately, that is less than half your proposed use for that building.

      My question to you is:

      Will you remove the housing and social service component from your proposal and instead expand the educational and job training services in collaboration with the surrounding community?

      If you are able to approach us in that manner, I’m sure you will find a much warmer reception. Given the non-engagement of LAYC over the past year I am not hopeful. Please, please prove me wrong.

  4. Mike – – I’m glad you see the educational, job training, and meeting space as a potential community asset. Where I’d like to engage on the housing is how we can make that a community asset as well, before we more to the extreme of just not having it. As you pointed out, the housing component is an integral part of the YBPCS/LAYC plan. We see it as meeting two dire needs in the city as a whole, and in Ward 5 in particular. In addition to considering the long track record of these two organizations in successfully operating these types of projects, consider this:
    * The project is in the process of engaging a property manager with a long history of managing affordable housing properties.
    * In addition to the property management services, LAYC program management staff will be present on the property 24 hours a day.
    * All of our residents are working young adults who demonstrate a commitment not only to their work and educational pursuits, but to drug- and violence-free lives;

    * Ward 5 residents already participate in YBPCS/LAYC programming at other sites. The Cook School gives them an opportunity to learn/work closer to home, and opens up opportunities for other Ward 5 residents.

    I’m urging us to actively begin a conversation about how to successfully integrate the project – school and housing – into the neighborhood.

  5. Angie-
    The transitional housing is something which already over-saturates the neighborhood. To the rear of the school on O st, over half the block is dedicated to housing and associated services. In additional there are many more scattered along North Capitol, P St and the intersection around New York Ave. These all exist within the two block area surrounding J.F. Cook!

    Such a dense concentration of services is acting as an impediment to redevelopment of the community. The Urban Land Institute concluded in 2009 that “North Capitol Street is not a viable location for retail development”. Furthermore, that study highlighted the area surrounding the school as an instance where the tight clustering of services discourages development. The housing component of your proposal just adds to this issue.

    Areas to the north, east and west which previously experienced large residential redevelopment are now starting to see growth in commercial establishments. The ULI study made it painfully clear why we should not expect to see similar growth in the near future.

    When asking you to redefine how you plan to use the school, I wish to see a use that both benefits YBPCS/LAYC and the local community. This neighborhood needs a project that doesn’t just ‘integrate’ and exist in the neighborhood, but a redevelopment that will act to counter the massive service density which already exists. Given the large size of J.F. Cook, any type of activity will affect development for many years to come.

    I have no reason to believe that LAYC will not run clean, safe housing, unfortunately all of your new neighbors already do the same thing.

  6. Mike – The ULI report is interesting, and I have a lot of respect for the work they do. I will note though, that the cluster of social service organizations was one of six challenges ULI highlighted; and in highlighting it, they acknowledged that the negative connotations of this clustering (loitering, crime, etc.) could be real . . . or it could only be perception. It is interesting to me that their recommendation is to engage with social services providers to “encourage mutual understanding and collaboration.” 🙂 I couldn’t have said it better myself!
    Seriously, though, I should note that I actually live right up the street in Bloomingdale (and ON North Capitol), so I’m familiar with the challenges. I’m also familiar with the an increasing rhetoric (all over the city, really) that automatically equates any affordable housing development with nusiance behaviors, and all I’m saying is that I don’t think that gets us anywhere, much less to a plan that works for this project or the community.

  7. Angie-
    Please note, I never said that LAYC or its residents would bring nuisance behavior. In fact, many of the services already operating in the community are quite well run and blend in.

    Regarding ‘mutual understanding and collaboration’, everything I’ve seen from LAYC regarding this process has been anything but collaborative. Your plan remains unchanged since it was announced, the only thing I have heard over and over has been “LAYC has a proven track record….”. That is talking at a community, not engaging it.

    As I said before, what the community desires from any Cook school development is a project that will spur development along the North Capitol corridor. From what I’ve seen so far, LAYC’s proposal furthers their needs and desires. What about the desires and vision of those who live here?

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