Modernize Hillcrest Rec Cntr & Winston Education Campus into a Vibrant Community Asset

Modernize Hillcrest Rec Cntr & Winston Education Campus into a Vibrant Community Asset

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Petition to
Muriel Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia and

Why this petition matters

Started by Kopen Henderson

This petition is for Ward 7 constituents and other concerned neighbors, and is supported by the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7B. This petition is to transition Hillcrest Recreation Center and Winston Education Campus into recreational and learning facilities. 

The mission of the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is “to provide equal and open access to Gold Standard recreational programs, services, and facilities—across all 8 wards”. That mission, evidently, is not being met at Hillcrest Recreation Center, despite our long-term persistent, steadfast advocacy efforts.


(1)   The Hillcrest community has been advocating for modernization to Hillcrest Recreation Center and Winston Education Campus (Ward 7) for many years, to no avail, while constant modernization and development is executed around the District. Hillcrest Recreation Center is old, dilapidated and outdated and, therefore, underutilized. Winston Education Campus is a deteriorating building in the Hillcrest community that has been abandoned since 2014. 

(2)   The unfairness and inconsistency in recreational improvements in the District are exemplified by more funding allocated in the FY 2022 budget to recreation centers in Wards 2 and 5, despite that Ward 7 has more children than the aforesaid wards, according to the 2020 Census redistricting data. These include recreation centers that primarily serve their local communities vs. specialty centers that serve the District collectively. Also, Ward 7 has more children than Ward 3; however, $44 million is being invested into the Chevy Chase community (Ward 3) to modernize their recreation center and library, while no funding is being invested into the Hillcrest community (Ward 7). The last capital investment for Hillcrest Recreation Center was in 2013 for $101,144, and there is no funding planned for this fiscal year. Wards 2, 3, and 5 have higher median household incomes than Ward 7. Further, the Hillcrest community does not have an athletic field for children to throw or kick a ball, while many of the other wards in the District possess a disproportionately larger amount of athletic play areas compared to Ward 7. This is unconscionable and unfair. While people of all ages engage in recreational activities, the primary focus of DPR is to serve children and promote play space equity.

(3)   The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation’s Report Card, indicates achievement gaps in education among White and minority students in the District, with little improvement since 2000. Ward 7 has the second highest minority population in Washington, DC. Modernizing Hillcrest Recreation Center and Winston Education Campus would elicit the District to address these performance gaps by offering more programs throughout the year, as continuous learning is vital for students to maintain a continuity of instruction and to retain and enhance their academic skills. Furthermore, Parents Amplifying Voices in Education (PAVE, a non-profit education advocacy organization) conducted a parent priority survey in the District to help drive their 2021- 2022 parent-driven education policy agenda, and the following is included in the top two priorities for parents: Increase access to high-quality out-of-school time (OST) programs (before and after school programs, summer programs, and other enrichment opportunities).

(4)   According to the 2020 Census redistricting data, Ward 7 is below range of the District’s average population by 5,628 persons, amplifying the need for modernization and mixed-use development in Ward 7. This will attract more people and businesses to our community, increasing density and incentivizing economic development. Additionally, Wards 7 and 8, which have the largest minority populations in the District, are the only wards that are below range of the District’s average population, with Ward 7 ranking highest below range.  

(5)   The majority of the District’s funds are from local funds, therefore, as taxpayers, we expect and deserve to have a portion of these funds invested in our community for modernization and development. 

(6)   Our community requests that you transform Hillcrest Recreation Center into a learning and recreational hub in the Hillcrest community, and expand the center to include Winston Education Campus, allowing the District to serve more residents, while offering additional camp and seasonal programs. These programs are greatly needed in the District, as continuous learning opportunities are vital for children to progress academically and socially, and prepare for a successful life.

(7)   We, the undersigned, are concerned constituents of the District of Columbia who urge our Government to take action. We petition the District to fund Hillcrest Recreation Center and Winston Education Campus for a modernization project to include the following upgrades:

Hillcrest Recreation Center:

-Modernize and transition recreation center into a state-of-the-art facility, including upgrading computer lab and basketball court

-Upgrade playground, including upgrading splash park and adding a dome climber

-Add multi-purpose sports field, bike path along a new walking trail, outdoor chess/checkers tables, and benches with shade structures  

-Upgrade tennis court, and add walking trail from recreation center to tennis court

-Upgrade garden

-Remove grills and reposition pavilion to create more space

-Improve landscaping to make area aesthetically pleasing, including removing the overgrown vegetation and weeds growing through asphalt 

-Install proper lighting and other safety mechanisms (cameras, security fencing, paving, etc.)

Winston Education Campus:

-Renovate the building into a state-of-the-art facility, and make it an extension of Hillcrest Recreation Center

-Create specialty rooms for aerobics/dance, arts & crafts, music lessons (piano, etc.), STEM activities, technology, games (air hockey, ping pong, pool table, etc.)

-Add industrial teaching kitchen and recording studio (scheduled sessions only)

-Add gymnasium with ample bleachers

-Add indoor pool with lap lanes and water slide

-Add an electronic card access control system

-Add locker rooms

-Upgrade bathrooms to be ADA compliant and senior friendly

The goal is to offer students healthy outlets from school through recreation, and support learning beyond the classroom through academic enrichment camps and programs. Further, it's to provide adults social and recreational activities. These recommendations are a notional concept. If the modernization request is approved, the entire community will be involved in the planning and design process.

Message to request a copy of the detailed report accompanying this petition, which provides additional information, data sources, charts, and images.  

Please become involved. Sign and share the petition to help bring change to the Hillcrest community and Ward 7. Thank you.

757 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!