Archive for the ‘Parks and Green spaces’ category

Bruce Monroe Park Survey Finally Online – Open until November 29th!

November 11, 2019

Neighbors discussing the future of the park at the September meeting.Two months following the public engagement meeting seeking comments on what a new, permanent park at Georgia Avenue and Columbia Road could look like, the Departments of Parks and Recreation (DPR) & General Services (DGS) have released an online survey to continue gathering community feedback and input. Participation is desired and encouraged. The results from the survey and community input will help guide the discussions moving forward on both design and amenities for the new park.

The Project Survey is at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BruceMonroeSurvey

Please share the survey link with your neighbors and anyone who may have an interest in the Bruce Monroe Park Project. The survey will remain open until 11:59 PM on November 29th.

DPR has stated that they will share the results of the survey with the community at their next community meeting, which is currently planned for mid-December. They are also working to provide and collect paper surveys throughout the community (though I currently do not have details on that effort).

For more information, please visit the project website to view the presentation from our previous meeting: https://dgs.dc.gov/page/bruce-monroe-park

Park View Athletic Field to be Repaired in Spring 2020

October 1, 2019

The Park View athletic field has been offline since June 20, 2019.

Yesterday, I received word from the Department of General Services (DGS) that the athletic field at the Park View Recreation Center will be repaired in the Spring of 2020 due to the availability of FY20 funding.

The field has been unavailable for sports use since June 20, 2019, when the DGS sent out notice that it was one of 13 fields that had failed their annual G-MAX testing.

While DGS had initially planned to move quickly with the repairs, a review of the scope of work needed for the field to be brought into compliance resulted in a need to secure funding. The reason DGS is waiting until the spring to undertake repairs is due to planning around weather.

This news actually comes at a good time, as the Park View UNC is hosting a Community Forum on the Safety of Playgrounds and Artificial Turf Fields in DC, sponsored by the Park View UNC and DC Safe Healthy Playing Fields at the Park View Rec Center on Wednesday, October 2nd, at 7 pm. More information on the event can be found here.

The athletic field at the Park View Recreation Center.

Report from First Bruce Monroe Permanent Park Meeting

September 11, 2019

On the evening of September 10th, the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) hosted a meeting to kick-off the community process to create a new, permanent 1-acre park at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Columbia Road. The meeting consisted of a brief overview of the Park Morton development (of which this is a part), and an overview of the site, the potential activities that could be programmed on the site, and a community activity to begin gathering information.

One process issue that arose was meeting location. Last night’s meeting was at the Bruce-Monroe at Park View School. DPR is working to schedule future meetings at the Cesar Chavez school on Kenyon Street.

(Neighbors in the cafeteria of the Park View School at the beginning of the park presentation.)

Following the presentation, neighbors were encouraged to review two park program boards and place stickers next to various programs to help guide the design process. To help gather greater input, DPR will also be distributing the survey electronically and plan to create paper versions for distribution. The goal is to get as much feedback as possible. Once collected, the information will be used to help prepare for the next meeting in the series.

Each person at the meeting got four stickers, one each of green, blue, yellow, and red. The colors indicated each persons first choice (green), second choice (blue), third choice (yellow), and least favorite (red). I’ve posted the results of that process below.

Thus far, two things pop out immediately. The first is that those who were at the meeting generally don’t want a tennis court. The second is that people either love or hate a dog park as most of the stickers were red or green.

It will be interesting to see how the input from the online and paper surveys add to these selections.

Heads Up! Kick Off Bruce Monroe Park Meeting is Tuesday, September 10, at 6:30 pm!

September 9, 2019

Tomorrow at 6:30 pm, the Department of Parks and Recreation will host their first community meeting to begin the conversation on what a permanent, 1-acre park could look like on the Bruce Monroe site located at Columbia Road and Georgia Avenue, NW. A 1-acre permanent park was one of the components agreed to as part of the overall effort to rebuild the Park Morton community which identified the Bruce Monroe site as the first phase of construction.

The build-first phase of Park Morton was challenged in court, and while the case was heard in February 2019, we are still waiting for a decision to be handed down. While that has delayed the timeline for construction of the build-first structure, other aspects of the project continue to move forward — like the permanent park.

See the flyer below for details, and I will post a report of the meeting later this week for those unable to attend.

DDOT to Begin Work on New Bioretention Facility at Park Road Park Today

March 11, 2019

Work is scheduled to begin on March 11th for a new bioretention area at the Park Road Park.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is scheduled to begin work today on a new bioretention facility at the western corner of the Park Road Park located at Park Road, Sherman Avenue, and New Hampshire Avenue. The work is part of the LeDroit Park Green Infrastructure Project. The purpose of the bioretention facilities is to filter pollutants and sediment from runoff.

Parking will be restricted during construction from 7 am to 5 pm.

Construction is expected to take approximately 4 weeks to complete, dependent on weather. In total, the bioretention area will be 1,567 sq. ft. in size.

Throughout the construction area, at least one lane of traffic will be open per direction. Curbside parking will be restricted at the site during construction hours which are 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Saturday.

Below are some construction drawing details shared from DDOT.

Are There Alternative Sites if WMATA Sells the 11th and Park Dog Park

January 25, 2019

WMATA put their site at 11th and Park Street, NW, on the open market in early January, 2019.

For much of 2018, intense focus has been on the parcel of land owned by WMATA at 11th and Park Road and used as an unofficial dog park since 2009. After many attempts by residents to convert the site into a permanent dog park, WMATA indicated that it was considering selling the parcel. In response, Ward 1 Councilmember Nadeau secured $1.5M into the District budget to purchase the property for the specific use as a dog park, but the amount fell short of WMATA’s estimate of $2.1M.

In early January 2019, WMATA officially put the land on the open market, and while the District is still welcome to put a bid on the property, all bidders are welcome to put their best offer forward. The issue of the dog park’s sale was discussed at the January 9, 2019, meeting of ANC1A and Councilmember Nadeau was there to answer questions. She stated clearly that any support from the ANC requesting Mayor Bowser to put forth a fair price offer to purchase the site would be helpful. Nadeau also shared that she had informed the Mayor not to get into a bidding war or to buy the property at any cost. By a split vote, the ANC voted to send notice to the Mayor requesting that she make a fair market offer for the property.

Considering these events, there is a good chance that the property may be sold to a private developer. Having been asked on several occasions what options may exist for a dog park other than the current site at 11th and Park, I’ve decided to list the top 5 sites that immediately come to mind or have been mentioned to me.

It is important to keep in mind for comparison that the 11th and Park site is approximately 8,046 sq. ft. of raw space, but if developed into an official dog park the usable land area is approximately 6,500 sq. ft. due to the WMATA infrastructure that needs to be maintained.

District Owned Properties

Option 1

In any discussion of alternative Dog Park sites, the Park Road Park is commonly referenced. As a triangle park in DPR’s inventory it really isn’t land that will be  developed — which is a good thing. Its already owned by the District and it has approximately 8,505 sq. ft. of usable land which are also pluses. However, it is also used for neighborhood block parties and events from the Park Road Community Church every now and then. Additionally, neighbors have been and are likely still opposed to the site being dedicated entirely to a dog park rather than open to multiple uses.

Option 2

Of the sites in this brief survey this is the one that excites me the most. While it is a quirky site locate to the northeast of Raymond Elementary and Raymond Recreation Center, it is district owned land that really has no other use. Like the Park Road Park, it is currently owned by the District and it has 8,439.6 sq. ft. of space. I like that it is next to a staffed DPR facility which could help with maintenance. I’ve also noted that some neighbors already use the front lawns of Raymond for their dogs and it might be nice to actually create official facilities here. On the down side, it is located in ANC4C and Ward 4, though just over the boarder, and would require cross-community collaboration. That said, it would create a dog park on District land that has no other real use. This is as close to a win-win as any alternative site can get.

Privately Owned Properties

All privately owned properties have the added complexity of requiring the sale of land, which the owners may not be interested in doing. The next three are listed here again in an attempt to show sites that could work, but may not actually be available.

Option 3

I’ve been fascinated by this double alley lot for a while. It is at the west end of the block bordered by Sherman, Lamont, Georgia, and Kenyon. The lots themselves are surrounded on all four sides by alleys. The site is smaller, being 6,051 sq. ft., and was likely originally a stable (existing buildings) for horses. Alley lots are hard to develop despite how they are zoned. Because of this, I’ve long felt that the District should buy this to add to DPR’s portfolio, and if not for a dog park perhaps for a community garden. It clearly has neighborhood potential in a number of ways.

Option 4

The vacant parcel on the north side of Girard Street (between 13th and 14th streets) is another possibility. It is 7,463.9 sq. ft. in size. The property was the home of Dorothy Brizill and Gary Imhoff until a fire gutted the house in May 2012 leading to the property being cleared and vacant. The property is currently behind on its property taxes, so perhaps there would be interest in selling it to the District for a public purpose.

Option 5

This last one is a bit of a stretch. While it has 7,483.5 sq. ft. of useable land, it is zoned RA-2 making it more desirable for housing due to the higher density allowed. That would also translate into a higher asking price which is part of the issue with the WMATA site — which is Zoned MU-4. It is also owned by Trinity Property Holding Corporation of Washington (Trinity AME Church) along with the nearby parking lots, originally purchased for the goal of housing.

While these sites could be used to create a permanent dog park in the Columbia Heights community, there may be others. Do you have a suggestion to add to this list? Are there sites I have missed? And, if the District is able to buy the 11th and Park WMATA property, do you think they should pursue any of these sites for other uses?

ANC1A Kicking Off Committee to Focus on Parks & Public Spaces on Thursday, April 5th

April 4, 2018

ANC1A is kicking off a new ad hoc committee focused on parks and public spaces on Thursday, April 5th, starting at 7 pm. The meeting will be held in the office of District Bridges which is located above Meridian Pint. The entrance is on 11th Street at the rear of Meridian Pint next to the Good Silver (3400 11th Street, NW).

This is an open meeting and all are invited and welcome to participate.

Over the past few years, ANC1A has received a growing number of concerns related to effective long-term management and vision as it relates to community parks and public spaces. The goal is for the committee to meet on a monthly basis, develop a comprehensive approach to long-term management and  growth of our public spaces, and make recommendations to ANC1A for action. Specifically, some of the focus areas of this committee will be to:

  • Identify community priorities related to public and community serving spaces;
  • Identify challenges to long-term maintenance;
  • Prioritize long-term improvements; and,
  • Bring all stakeholders together to better understand roles, responsibilities, and identify efforts already underway

Please share this information with others who may be interested.


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