Archive for the ‘Sports leisure and entertainment’ category

Funk Parade Happening This Saturday, May 3rd

May 1, 2014

Parade-Route

The Funk Parade, and associate activities, is scheduled for this Saturday, May 3rd. Below are the details distributed by the organizers.

The festivities – all free! – are as follows:

*DAY FAIR *(noon-5 pm) – music, dance, art and conviviality throughout U Street, from 16th to 9th. Stroll, hum, dance, and enjoy! *(neighbor note: U Street won’t be closed and parking is not affected!)*

*FUNK PARADE *(5-7 pm) – a joyful, collaborative musical procession that invites you to participate. Come be a part of the Funk Parade! Gathering on Vermont between U and V, the parade moves west on V to Ben Ali Way. Short, sweet, soulful and superlative, great for kids from 3 to 93! (*neighbor note: this is going to be awesome*.)

*MUSIC FESTIVAL *(7-10 pm) – Over twenty great local bands play music from all over the world inside a dozen U Street venues, from Solly’s, Tropicalia and DC9 to U Street Music Hall, Bohemian Caverns, Patty Boom Boom and more. (*neighbor note: All music will be inside venues, and the festival ends at
10 pm. In time to get the kids to bed!*)

*This event is a PHENOMENAL collaboration of over 200 local businesses, community groups, musicians and civic leaders, including the U Street Neighborhood Association, ANC 1B, and many small and locally-owned neighborhood businesses*. Big thanks to everyone who has helped Funk Parade get this far. We hope you all can come out and enjoy the day with your neighbors and friends!

For more information, go to http://funkparade.com, or follow Funk Parade on Twitter at @FunkParade. Have a question? Shoot us an email at funk@funkparade.com!

We are ALWAYS looking for volunteers, especially to help during the events themselves. If you’re interested, email volunteers@funkparade.com. Thanks!

DPR’s Former Headquarters Could Be a Vibrant Hub of Community Activity

April 24, 2014

In reviewing DPR’s recently released Play DC Vision Framework Document, I began to reflect upon the former DPR Headquarters property located at 3149 Sixteenth Street, NW, and the adjoining park to the north. The DPR Website refers to the playground as the 16th Street Playground, although historically it was known as either the Powell Recreation Center or the Johnson-Powell Playground after the two schools that were once located on the neighboring properties. Both schools are now long gone and been replaced by the Columbia Heights Education Campus to the south.

But, back to the parkland and building. DPR moved from the 16th Street property t0 their present U Street location in 2012 leaving the building empty. The neighboring park was last renovated in 2011 and seems well used and popular when I walk past it. However, both properties appear to fall far short of their potential and a review of the Vision Framework doesn’t seem to give them any particular importance (although that could change between now and the final master plan).

16th Street DPR headquarters(Map showing location of former DPR headquarters)

The landmark building, listed on the National Register in 1986, is large and could accommodate any number of functions — from office space on the upper floors for non-profits, to gallery space for rotating art, photography, and history exhibits, to being one of the few publicly accessible meeting spaces in Ward 1.

The parkland is relatively large, and while the playground and tennis courts are popular, the baseball diamond and large grassy area in the back are lesser used. They were completely empty last time I visited, but I’m betting the Columbia Heights Education Campus makes good use of them. I’ve begun to wonder if outdoor lighting and an upgrade would make the baseball diamond a more attractive amenity for both the nearby Bell Multicultural High School and the greater community. I also wonder if there is enough room for some additional uses if the playground and building site were better integrated. Perhaps there would be room for a community garden or some other recreational amenity that is otherwise lacking in the surrounding community.

The Chateauesque Embassy Building No. 10, former headquarters of DPR.

The Chateauesque Embassy Building No. 10, former headquarters of DPR.

While identifying programming and building community consensus may seem like the most obvious hurdles to improving the property, they aren’t the only ones. The properties are among the many in the District of Columbia that are still technically owned by the Federal Government, but whose jurisdiction & maintenance has been transferred to the District of Columbia. A significant aspect of this duel scenario is that the Federal Government transferred day-to-day operations of the properties to D.C. with a restriction that the properties must be used for or support recreation purposes.

This poses less of a problem for the outdoor spaces, but it does restrict what the building can be used for. This, no doubt, has played a role in the building’s current vacant status. The building is also in need of significant repair and upgrades — and I would imagine that restoring a building it doesn’t own or currently use is low on the District’s list of priorities.

Yet, I think that if the community were able to come up with a good plan and vision for both the building and the parkland, funding of that vision could be found — and perhaps some of that funding could come from the Federal Government. A good example of this is a short distance to the south, where after successful outreach Meridian Hill Park is in the midst of improvements from the National Park Service.

Powell Playground(View of the playground area from the parking lot (south) at the former DPR headquarters)

Parks & Recreation Master Plan Process Progressing Well

April 22, 2014

Play DC Project Phasing
Hopefully, people have been following the Play DC initiative. Play DC is the District of Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan Initiative (Web site here).  The initiative completed the Vision Framework Document in March, leaving both the Implementation Strategy and Master Plan outstanding (see process map above).

According to the Play DC Web site, the strategic plan’s goal is to:

  1. Establish a clear understanding of the current conditions of all District parks, recreation centers, and outdoor facilities;
  2. Assess the current programs available at all parks and recreation centers;
  3. Identify challenges and service gaps;
  4. Develop and propose solutions that are:
    1. Phased for implementation over the next 10 years
    2. Based on sound and detailed analysis that is inclusive and responsive to District residents
    3. Grounded in community input and industry best practices that improve public services and reduce costs
    4. Improving the District’s ability to protect and preserve historic resources
    5. Progressing citywide goals identified in Mayor Gray’s ONE CITY Action Plan, including economic strength and diversification, education and workforce preparation, sustainability and quality of life.

The Play DC Vision Framework does a good job of outlining the District’s goals for the future of its parks, and for capturing how our parks currently stack up against those goals. For example, a few of the identified targets of our parks system are:

  • That every resident will be able to access a meaningful greenspace within a 1/2 mile (10 minute walk) of home;
  • Every neighborhood cluster will have access to at least 4 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents;
  • Every resident will be able to access a DPR Neighborhood Center within 1 mile of home;
  • Every resident will have access to an indoor pool within 2 miles, an outdoor pool within 1.5 miles, and a splash pad within 1 mile;
  • 100% of DPR parks will be accessible by foot, and 90% will  be accessible by bicycle; and,
  • Increase natural features on DPR properties, such as trees, gardens, or wetlands, by 40%.

It will be interesting to see how these targets and details are represented in the Implementation Strategy and Master Plan when they are completed. For example, the image below is a map that shows how recreation centers stack up. A quick review of the map shows that the Park View Recreation Center (for example) is among those that is considered substandard in both size and maintenance (though the Park View community is not within an area in need of additional recreation center space).

Recreation Center Vision

While the Park View area may not need additional recreation center space, another map in the Vision Framework does include the community — along with much of Ward 1, Ward 5, and southern Ward 4 — within a large area in need of more parkland.

Both the Play DC Web site and its Resources page are worth a look to see where we might be headed with the District’s greenspaces over the next decade.

 

 

Are You Looking for an Easter Activity for the Kids This Weekend? Then This Might Fit the Bill.

April 17, 2014

Here’s something fun to do with the kids this weekend if you don’t already have Easter plans.
Easter Meridian Hill Girard Park

DC Water’s Wangari Bioretention Areas Both Useful and Beautiful

April 8, 2014

On Sunday, April 6th, DC Water was at Wangari Gardens as part of an event that included a Gardening Orientation Session, Composting Cooperatve, Applications for Garden Plots, and a Bioretention Area Presentation. There were also free Dogwood seedlings to the first 50 guests.

Looking north from Michigan Avenue toward the Wangari Gardens. Unfinished bioretention area in the foreground.

Looking north from Michigan Avenue toward the Wangari Gardens. Unfinished bioretention area in the foreground.

The bioretention areas are part of medium-term Bloomingdale flood mitigation efforts DC Water has undertaken to reduce stormwater runoff. I’ve been keenly interested in these area and stopped by on Sunday to take a look at the progress. I’m happy to report that DC Water has done an excellent job with the areas closest to Wangari, and the areas to the south are well underway.

The purpose of this project, according to DC Water, is to capture, infiltrate, and treat stormwater runoff before it enters the sewer system. The project includes 15 bioretention areas (similar to rain gardens) along the Irving Street corridor between Michigan Avenue and North Capitol Street, including the Wangari Gardens site.

The the primary purpose of these bioretention areas is to prevent flooding,  bioretention areas are planted filter beds of specialized soil, sand, and stone aggregate. The areas are typically slightly depressed into the surrounding landscape to facilitate runoff flow to the system. Bioretention is used to slow, cool, filter, and infiltrate stormwater runoff, and can be used to reduce flooding associated with stormwater. The bioretention plantings and soil remove contaminants and excess nutrients from stormwater.

Bioretention at Wangari(The bioretention area along Park Place just south of Irving.)

What I particularly like is that these areas have the additional benefits
of habitat creation, urban heat island reduction, green space enhancement, and air quality improvements. In walking around Wangari and assessing what DC Water has created, I could easily see how the bioretention areas will add beauty to the areas.

Below is the plan as implemented on the western edge of Wangari Gardens, along Park Place. In reviewing the plan, notice that a variety of trees and plantings were part of the project which will help make the area both beautiful and useful.Wangari bioretention plan(Image courtesy of DC Water)

2nd Annual Spring Fling at the Soldiers’ Home Scheduled for May 3rd

March 31, 2014

The Friends of the Soldiers Home has schedule their second annual Spring Fling for May 3rd this year. Last year’s event included an afternoon of games, food, and music, so you may want to mark your calendars if you want to enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home.  The flyer is below:

Spring Fling-page-001

U Street Flea Market Opening Saturday, March 29

March 28, 2014

The U Street Flea Market will open tomorrow on a parking lot near the intersection of U and 9th Streets, NW.  More information about this market can be found in the following text which is from a press release that was shared on Twitter:

U Street Flea MarketMarch 24, 2014

(Washington, D.C.) – Collaboration of the two oldest flea markets in the City in the opening of a new market, U Street Flea, was announced jointly today by Michael Berman, President of Diverse Markets Management (DMM), operator of The Flea Market at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill, established in the early 1980s and Michael Sussman, founder of Georgetown Flea Market, opened in the mid 1970s.

Located at 912 U St. NW, a parking lot near the intersection of U and 9th Streets, NW, the market will feature a diverse mix of arts, crafts, imports, antiques and collectibles 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, according to Berman, whose DMM will manage the market, on space licensed to Sussman by the City.

“We’re very excited to be working with the “Dean of D.C. Fleas’ for the first time,” exclaimed Berman. “And we hope this is just the beginning of a long term relationship” between the two management teams.

Sussman first opened U Street Flea at the beginning of March but decided “to ask DMM to help out” shortly thereafter. A previously-scheduled grand opening and ribbon cutting by Ward One Councilman Jim Graham will be held 12 p.m. Saturday, the first day under DMM management.

DMM Director Tom Rall, who began to manage The Flea Market at Eastern Market in 1984, was especially pleased with the new relationship with the Georgetown flea. “I actually got my start in the antiques business as a dealer at Georgetown in the late 1970s, so DMM is actually a business which incubated there.

“A decade or so ago Mike Sussman and I first discussed the possibility of promoting a joint market when we were approached about the possible availability of a prominent near Northeast D.C. location,” Rall continued, “and I regretted those negotiations fell through, as I always felt there’d be a lot of symmetry between our exhibitor bases.”

Berman said the market may also feature local specialty food items such as fruits and vegetables, prepared food and beverages. Exhibitor application information is available here.

Diverse Markets Management, LLC is a DC-based firm specializing in the development and management of outdoor public exhibitor markets. Principals in the firm are experienced leaders in specialty vending and in managing relations with this unique group of small business entrepreneurs. To learn more about Diverse Markets Management, visit DiverseMarkets.net.

 

Wishing All a Happy St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2014

 

St Patricks postcard 1910

2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon Is Saturday — Expect Road Closures

March 13, 2014

Expect significant road closures in DC on Saturday morning due to the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon & CareFirst Half Marathon. The race begins at 7:30 a.m. and the course is posted below.

The race course impacts Ward 1 neighborhoods from mile 6 to 9 on the course, but as it also includes Rock Creek Parkway and North Capitol Street, there will be no easy routes connecting residents north of the race course to points south until the marathon is over. In looking at the race schedule from past years, roads should be open by 1:00 p.m. More information is available on the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon Web site.

14 marathon course

Here’s an Opportunity to Get Involved and Help Shape the Long-Term Use of the Former Bruce-Monroe School Site

March 12, 2014
Bruce Monroe Park will receive $200,000 for improvements in 2012.

Bruce Monroe Park today.

At the February meeting of ANC 1A, the Commission voted in favor of forming a task force to examine the issues related to the long-term use of the former Bruce-Monroe School site at Georgia Avenue btween Irving Street and Columbia Road.

The first meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, March 13th, at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of the 3232 Georgia Avenue Apartments (entrance on Lamont St.).

The overall goal of the task force will be to discuss potential long-term uses of the property and, hopefully, make a recommendation to both ANC 1A and ANC 1B in the fall on that subject should there be community consensus.

The park currently on the site is still designated as a temporary feature. Whether the entire property remains a park, or becomes a mix of public park and some other use, it is important that the property find a permanent use before significant improvements can be undertaken.

Participation in the task force is open to all, especially residents living nearby and/or interested in the long-term development of the lower Georgia Avenue community.


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