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A Ward 7 community hub reimagined

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History of Fletcher Johnson

Fletcher-Johnson was originally the site of Payne Cemetery but was repurposed as a school for much of the 20th century. The most recent school there was closed in 2011 and the facility has remained vacant since. Community members have an aspirational vision for redeveloping the facility that is already gaining traction. In 2018-2019 the Fletcher-Johnson Task Force assembled to advocate the community's vision for the property's redevelopment.


Payne Cemetery was owned and operated by Black Washingtonians and was one of the few places in DC where Black residents were allowed to be buried in the 19th century. As the portions of DC east of the Anacostia river developed in the 20th century, Payne cemetery was shut down and the land was repurposed. The graves were moved to a cemetery in PG County and by the end of the 1960’s there were no longer any grave sites at the location.


For current ward 7 residents the Fletcher-Johnson site is most well known as the former location of HD Woodson Highschool and Fletcher-Johnson Middle School. Tens of thousands of wards 7 and 8 residents passed through the halls of the Fletcher-Johnson facility as students over the last five decades. Today, many thousands of those same HD Woodson Highschool and Fletcher-Johnson Middle School students continue to reside in nearby neighborhoods. And in fact, many of those former students are now members of the Fletcher Johnson Task Force leading the redevelopment plans.


Whether as a cemetery, school, or recreational center the Fletcher-Johnson location has been a touchstone of the ward 7 community for over a century and a place of historical significance for the District. As the Task Force works through it’s aspirational plans we hope to honor and maintain elements of Fletcher-Johnson’s history in it’s next reincarnation. 

For details on the Fletcher-Johnson history visit this timeline

Our Vision for Fletcher-Johnson

Fletcher-Johnson is the fourth largest property owned by the District and we believe it can be reimagined and redeveloped into a new anchor institution for the ward 7 community. Situated just south of the Benning Road Metro, across the street from the Kipp charter school, near several bus stops, and only two blocks away from the future DC Streetcar terminus -- the location of Fletcher-Johnson is a transit-rich environment that can serve as a nexus for transportation, groceries, healthcare, and education. The Fletcher-Johnson Task Force is working closely with Gragg Cardona Partners to communicate the community’s desires to the developers to ensure that our community-inspired vision is realized.


Top community priorities for the development include:

  • A grocery store to help end the ward 7 food desert

  • Adult and continuing education institution

  • Urgent Care facility

  • Housing of all types -- both apartments and townhouses to give residents a path towards homeownership

Click here for

Plans from the developer

The Community Vision

What do residents want?

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