Chevy Chase Citizens Association: Nov. 29, 2017

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The Chevy Chase Community Center is located at Connecticut Avenue and McKinley Street NW. (Brian Kapur/The Current/January 2017)

It’s time for our community to make recommendations to the D.C. government about the future of the Chevy Chase Community Center complex at Connecticut Avenue and McKinley Street NW.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3/4G (Chevy Chase) has scheduled meetings this week and in mid-December to start formulating our views. Because D.C. officials have said they would include renovation funds for the center in the fiscal 2019 budget, we are planning to make proposals early next year.

We recently completed a public survey that represented about 1,470 people, including family members of the primary respondent. Three-fourths of those who took part lived in ZIP code 20015. About 4 in 10 of the adults were age 65 or older. Because respondents answered on behalf of 541 children, young people are represented in the results.

Survey respondents ranked a fitness center highest among things they want at a renovated center, with 76 percent favoring it. That was followed by outdoor open space (74 percent), an environmentally sustainable facility (74 percent), an auditorium with a stage (72 percent), a community room (71 percent), meeting rooms (71 percent) and a gymnasium (69 percent.)

The preferred hours for use of the center were weekday evenings and weekends. After protests from the community, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation has put on hold a proposal to close the center earlier for organized activities, at 8:30 p.m. instead of 9:30.

This week’s meeting will have occurred by the time this column is published. Please join us for the next one at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at the center.

Representatives of seniors who now use the center, along with ANC 3/4G and our association, have supported an effort to increase the number of organized activities for seniors at the facility and to improve conditions there.

Under a budget provision introduced by Ward 3 D.C. Council member Mary Cheh, D.C. is now hiring a senior program manager at the center. There were about 80 applicants for the position. Recreation department deputy director John Stokes says that “interviews with highly qualified senior service program candidates began this week” and that a choice is expected soon. The department has also pledged to upgrade the variety of activities offered at the center.

— Ted Gest