At least three city athletic fields installed with logos bearing the name of former mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) are slated for partial replacement, removing the logos from the artificial turf.
Work is already underway on one field, at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights, where the appearance of the Fenty name garnered headlines and grumbles back in 2009. Prince of Petworth first reported on the work Thursday.
Brian Hanlon, director of the D.C. Department of General Services, confirmed the work underway at Tubman was to replace the field’s logo in an effort to “standardize” and improve city athletic fields. Other fields scheduled for similar treatment are at the Riggs-LaSalle Recreation Center in Ward 4 and the Ridge Road Recreation Center in Ward 7.
According to aerial photos, all three had Fenty’s name on them. But Hanlon said the work has nothing to do with politics but instead is meant to make it more clear who controls the fields: the D.C. Parks and Recreation Department or the D.C. Public Schools.
“When people try to access fields for use, there needs to be some clarity on which portal to go through,” he said. “There’s a process for DCPS and a process for Parks and Rec.”
Also, Hanlon said, the work at Tubman will replace “non-regulation” soccer markings with a standard center circle. None of the new markings, he added, will include the name of Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), or any other elected official.
“It has nothing to do with whose name was on it,” he said. “This came out of my office. It’s an initiative I started talking about months ago.”
Gray administration spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said the changes were not ordered by the mayor’s executive office. “We don’t give a damn what’s on the middle of the field,” he said.
Hanlon said the work is part of his department’s routine maintenance work. “We didn’t have to go find additional money for this,” he said.