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Mayor cuts ribbon on new Ward 8 pool

Rendering of the new Barry Farm Recreation Center

The new aquatics facility at the new Barry Farm recreation center, 1230 Sumner Road SE--steps from the Anacostia metro--opened Saturday.
The new indoor aquatics center replaces an outdoor pool and offers a lap pool, a leisure pool and waterslide.

The attached recreation center, which itself isn't scheduled to open until spring 2015, is part of the district’s New Communities Initiative, a potentially billion-dollar, decades-long plan to replace struggling, low-income communities with mixed-income neighborhoods on approximately 68 acres in the district. Four communities are included in the initiative, each with its own concept plan: Barry Farm (Ward 8), Lincoln Heights (Ward 7), Northwest One (Ward 6) and Park Morton (Ward 1).
‘It’s part of the revitalization of Ward 8,” John Stokes, chief of staff of the District Department of Parks and Recreation, says of the aquatics and rec centers. “Barry Farm is an older, historic community and a lot of it is being renovated with residences, schools and a business area.”
“The Barry Farm rec center is going to be the crown jewel not just in Ward 8 but in the entire city,” says Stokes.
Kenneth Diggs, of the District Department of General Services said the new rec center, which is pursuing LEED Silver certification, will have a gymnasium with stadium seating, multipurpose room, kitchen, fitness center, teen area, computer lab and senior lounge. Outside, there will be a multi-purpose athletic field with stadium seating, two basketball courts and a children’s playground.
According to the 2014 New Communities Initiative annual report, so far nearly $305 million has been spent on residential projects either completed or under construction in the four communities covered in the initiative. That figure includes $28 million for the new Barry Farm rec center and aquatics facility.
The initiative began in 2005, with a deadline for completion by 2015. Because of delays, the city recently extended the deadline to 2023.
The plan for Barry Farm, located east of the Anacostia River, calls for the existing Barry Farm and Wade Apartments with 444 affordable housing units total be demolished and replaced with 1,400 mixed-income housing units. There would be a one-for-one replacement of affordable housing. The Barry Farm plan also calls for 50,000 square feet of retail and service areas, new open spaces and new sidewalks/roads.
Last October, the District Zoning Commission approved the first phase in the four-phase Barry Farm plan, to be built on 26 acres, take at least 15 years for completion and cost an estimated $400 million alone.
“All the Anacostia area on the east side of the river is undergoing significant transformation for the purpose of economic and community development,” says Diggs.
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