City Neglect Causing Neighborhood Blight in Fort Lincoln


The now closed Thurgood Marshall School, which once stood for a symbol of progress  in Fort Lincoln, is now a symbol blight and poses a continued threat to public safety.  Everyday, the graffiti, break-ins, homeless squatting, and now loitering of youth has engulfed this facility.  In the past year, I have called emergency personnel for serious violations consisting of everything from busted water-mains in the winter, homeless squatting,  drug & gang paraphernalia, open live electrical boxes, burning cars and more.  This is all taking place within a few hundred feet of a senior citizen residential building, the recently completed Villages at Dakota Crossing and is across the street from another residential development under construction with homes prices starting at $600,000. Moreover, the damage to this  school is beyond vandalism; it is also structurally degrading.  The roofing membrane has been ripped up, mortar between bricks have been washed away, window are broken, and concrete is now chipping away on structural members.  The District Government has reacted to short term resolution of some of  the issues as they arise; however, this only happens after I observe, call, and tweet the issues while walking my dog during daylight.  With the earlier sunsets and absence of lighting around the facility, days go by before I observe anything.  At this rate, the entire facility will be covered in graffiti  by the beginning of the new year 2016.   I once even observed amateur photographers taking pictures of the graffiti who were from Maryland, I might add. The developer has petitioned the city since the Gray Administration about the conversion of the School to a YMCA .  This conversion would take advantage of the indoor pool as well as having another City Agency occupy the remaining space.  Today, we are no closer to moving in a suitable tenant or having the city appropriate funding to stop the degradation of this valuable asset.  As district residents do we not deserve better than this?  What would you do if this was happening in your community?


Below are photos from vandalism and decay at the school which is adjacent to Fort Lincoln Park.

Live electrical box was repaired after I called & tweeted the same day it was reported. Not sure how long it was open before I observed it.


Door is open on the roof allowing access for graffiti now on the front of the building.
Roofing has been pulled up causing significant damage. Almost as if it is intentional…



Water damage to brick mortar


Concrete chipping away



7 thoughts on “City Neglect Causing Neighborhood Blight in Fort Lincoln”

  1. Hi Robert. The school is the biggest public structure in Fort Lincoln, and there has been no information — that I have seen — over the past year about what is going on with it. Can you spell out what has been done and who is doing it? Among the unanswered questions: If there is a petition, how can residents get a copy of it? If there is a plan, how can residents get a copy of it? If there is funding, how can residents get a copy of the projected budget? If the D.C. government is being petitioned, what agencies would that be? The lack of transparency around what has been happening with the school has been striking. I suspect resident ignorance is playing a big part in the lack of progress and pressure to do anything. Hard to support what you know nothing about.

    1. There are articles in this blog that I can repost on the background. To outline it in the comments is too long. There is a walkthrough and community meeting planned with the responsible agencies. Like I tell everyone Fort Lincoln has been mismanaged from an ANC stand point for years and there is a myriad of issues that require attention and now the School and Park on up on the list of priorities. It hasn’t been a year since I’ve been in office so this will take time and it will be a coordinated and systematic process for resolution. That’s just how I do things. There is no petition yet, the meeting and walkthrough will kickoff the process and I have appointed a co chair to assist me with follow up and community engagement. I urge everyone to attend meetings and use hat as a conduit to get your voice heard.

      1. Thanks for the update! Last I recall of public information about the school, some D.C. agency was soliciting proposals for the short-term development of the school. At that time (around 2013) it was anticipated that the school would reopen in 3-5 years, at which time it was expected that there would be enough school-age children to justify re-opening the school. Rumor had it that the YMCA and Fort Lincoln’s developer had submitted a joint proposal, and that a D.C. agency would also be a tenant. Do you know the D.C. agencies/persons that are currently responsible for deciding the school’s fate? If Fort Lincoln residents had their contact information we could self-educate on this important subject. Only a small percentage of the 3,0000 or so residents in Fort Lincoln will be able to attend evening meetings. I, as an example, work evenings and likely would not be among the 100 or so residents able to do so. So having contact information, or your blogging about the results of walk-throughs or meetings on this topic, would be a tremendous public service. We can’t expect you to be all things to all of us. But to help, we need the means to educate ourselves.

      2. Robert, I love your forward thinking process and concern about this community because I live here. I attend the Model Cities Senior Wellness Center on Evarts Street, and we have attended hearings downtown regarding more space. We have over 800 senior members and not enough space. Instead of us adding on an addition to the present building, and Fort Lincoln being basically a senior citizen community, will you please see if we can convert the building into a wellness community center? I will be willing to volunteer my time in any way I can to make this happen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s