New Flowers at Civic Plaza Continue to Be Thorny Issue

Columbia Heights Civic Plaza with new plants.

Columbia Heights Civic Plaza with new plants.

Within the last week, the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza has received new plantings for the second time since the spring. However, this effort to beautify the plaza is not welcomed by many. Those taking issue with the new plants aren’t necessarily against the plants, but rather that the efforts in June and now both occurred without any notice to the community and that converting the areas around the fountain from grass to flower beds have negatively impacted the usefulness of the plaza.

The negative impact of the plants on the plaza has been particularly felt by the weekly farmers market, which uses the entire plaza. More on a daily level, when the areas were grass people would sit on the area while watching children play in the fountain.

What is particularly disappointing is that members of the farmers market, community, ANC1A, and Department of Parks and Recreation all sat down to discuss how the plaza is managed and functions since the areas have become plant beds on August 10th. While there was an understanding that changing anything during the current season wouldn’t make sense, there seemed to also be an understanding that the plantings would need to be revisited as they have changed how the plaza functions. Despite this meeting, more plants have been added to the beds further impacting the usefulness of the area.

It seems that either DPR of the Department of General Services, or perhaps some other agency, didn’t get the message that their efforts to beautify the plaza are not all that welcomed, and have caused tensions and angry words between those using the plaza and those attempting to protect plants that were never intended to be part of the tightly designed space.

In short, someone in our government messed up, and is continuing to spend money and labor to entrench the error.
IMG_1409(Section of the former lawn terrace recently planted with new flowers.)

Explore posts in the same categories: Parks and Green spaces, Restoration repair and maintenance

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10 Comments on “New Flowers at Civic Plaza Continue to Be Thorny Issue”

  1. YD Says:

    It’s a shame we can’t have nice things in CoHi. This plaza is a cesspool of drinking, drugs and street harassment. Flowers vs grass should be the least of our concerns.

  2. JM Says:

    Really…? With all the problems in our neighborhood this is what our ANC is worrying about?

    I also remember you complaining that &Pizza wanted to put tables and chairs outside (which might actually have improved the space…)

  3. Anon Says:

    Are we really pretending we don’t know who is behind the Civic Plaza changes? As an ANC member I would hope you would know more about what’s happening by one of your own.

  4. steve Says:

    We stood on the grassy risers to sing Christmas Carols. Putting in flowers will hamper that come winter.

  5. John Says:

    Wholly disagree with this opinion. I personally applaud DCRA amd THANK YOU for trying to beautify that area twice this summer, despite the input from our hapless ANC, it is welcomed by the community (perhaps they’d listen to you if you represented the community). The so called “grass” was more akin to trash strewn dirt before this. Much like the misguided fence post around the Heights, it seems our so called leaders would rather make excuses or whine about not being listened to than do anything about the drugs, drunks and trash that has taken over the plaza this summer.

  6. Sahand Says:

    I appreciate them trying to clean up the space and beautify it with the flowers. Are people really complaining that they want the dirt patches back, covered with trash? Not as comfortable to loiter? Good!

    • Dave Says:

      Although this is Kent’s blog of personal interests (and not an official website of ANC activities, ANC responsibilities, or Crime Watch), some apparently feel this particular blog should primarily (or even only) address public safety and crime issues.

      • JM Says:

        On a day when a person walked up Georgia Ave firing a gun randomly at passerby and a Metrobus, your concern that public safety is over-prioritized is duly noted.

  7. Dave Says:

    JM – You read incorrectly, my comment doesn’t state that public safety is over-prioritized. I simply noted that this is a personal blog that Kent uses to share his personal interests: often historic preservation, neighborhood history, biographies of historic and long-term residents, urban forestry, neighborhood activities, etc. He does occasionally address public safety and crime issues but I have never read any statements from Kent on this blog that his primary/sole purpose in maintaining this blog is to address public safety and crime. If you feel there is a void on this topic, perhaps you could start a blog that only addresses public safety and crime rather than criticizing others for doing what enriches their life and the lives of others.

  8. Marcus Says:

    I didn’t say anything when they installed the flowers, because I live far enough away from the plaza that my family only use it on the occasional weekend and I understand that the change is well intended. That said, the removal of the grass has changed how my family uses the space. We don’t spend time in the plaza on shopping trips and we don’t make specific trips to play in the splash pad (we go to Petworth Park instead).

    I am not weighing in on whether the flower beds are objectively better or worse than the grass was, but the change in landscaping changes the use of the space.

    There was extensive public participation in the planning of the space and changing the way the plaza is used without additional public participation seems ill advised.


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