Meridian Hill Park Renovation Update

DSCN0394, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Thanks a million to a reader for sending the following response to his inquiry:

All of the necessary infrastructure work, as well as construction work on the entire lower level of the park, were completed over a year ago.
Construction of the lodge house on the upper level has been completed and was inspected last week. That inspection revealed a few items that need to be corrected by the contractor before the Park Service accepts the building. Until these corrections have been made and the building is occupied, the fencing and plywood around the lodge house will remain in place to prevent vandalism.

The lawn areas on the upper level of the park have been regraded and sodded, and are under contractor warrantee. This means that the contractor is responsible for maintaining the lawn areas for 1 year and turning over a well established, lush lawn to the Park Service at the completion of the contractor maintenance period. The contractor has the option of leaving the snow fencing up during this maintenance period, and we expect them to do so since the contractor will face a substantial financial burden should the lawn areas be damaged.

If you are concerned about the amount of available space, the lower level is open and has not been affected by construction on the upper level.


Adrienne Coleman
Superintendent, Rock Creek Park
National Park Service

25 Comment

  • So the fencing around the grass will stay up for about another year? Am I understanding this correctly?

  • snow fencing for a year???!!!!!! WTF! The grass has been unusable because of it for the better part of 4 years now. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.

  • its ok guys! i would rather just look at the grass and imagine walking or sitting on it anyway!

    we need to protect the grass. its so vulnerable.

  • I got the impression from her answer that the warrantee period lasts a year from the time the area was sodded, so turnover to the Park Service should happen relatively soon. That fence has to have been up for close to that long by now.

  • Here’s what I don’t get: Paris, the most visited city in the world, doesn’t seem to have any trouble keeps its parks green, clean, well-maintained. Washington DC, which doesn’t even crack the top 10 in terms of number of callous tourists tromping through its greenspaces, can’t manage to make the National Mall inviting, or even renovate a small park in less than 5 years. What gives??

  • WDC- The National Park Service has been grossly underfunded since Dubya took office. They have literally billions of deferred maintenance around the country as a result, and our national parks wither…

  • WDC–and Parisians value their gardens and don’t trample the grass the way merkins do.

    The warranty period begins at ‘substantial completion’, not when the sod was put down. And as the superintendent stated in the press release, the contractor has the option of leaving the snow fence up during the warranty period. It may not seem desirable from a resident’s perspective, but anyone who is going to be responsible for paying the cost of replacing a warrantied product is obviously going to do everything possible to protect that product.

  • And while I would love to blame them for most things, it’s not really the tourists who are destroying the parks. NPS is underfunded (as others have mentioned) and DPR is incompetent….thus we get giant dustbowls or everything fenced off.

  • I have never been in a Paris park and seen 5 pick-up games of soccer going on at the same time. In fact, it is amazing to me the respect for rules that Europeansd have (such as no sports on the grass). Americans feel it is their right, natch their duty, to break the rules.

  • Uhm… Not sure if you folks realize this, but Paris is in a slightly different climate zone from DC. If we wanted nice, green lawns we probably shouldn’t have picked a swampy patch of crapland that gets sizzled for about 10-12 weeks a year.

    Perhaps we should move the National Mall to Ohio.

  • Odentex, aren’t you from Houston, aka the most miserable place on earth for anyone not from there? I assume the Ohio bit was pure sarcasm

  • Odentex, operative word here is “slightly”. Paris gets really freakin’ hot and humid in the summer. Pretty similar to DC year-round, in fact; maybe a mite less extreme on both ends.

    But cupcake’s point is well-taken… in my experience, Parisians aren’t nearly as in to the public displays of atheletic prowess. Hey, there’s our million bucks… let’s export kickball leagues to the Europeans!

  • so wait, the contractor is obliged to deliver grass that lasts a year after substantial completion, so they are just going to leave up a fence during that period and claim they met their obligation? that’s pretty hilarious.

  • So, if soccer, kickball, and all other sports are unsuitable for the park space, pray-tell, what should the park space be used for?

  • Come on, this sounds totally reasonable to me. Personally, I’m just excited because my two year car warranty (*must not DRIVE car during warranty period) is about to expire!

  • Prince Of Petworth

    From a reader:

    “Community is about coming together. Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park used to serve as a community-space. On summer sundays you’d see soccer, ultimate frisbee, drum circles, capoiera, and picnicers. That was a big part of why I moved close by. I loved the way the community bonded and connected in space. I eventually took over coordinating the ultimate frisbee game. Dozens of folks, some from the political world, some non-profit folks, many teachers, and lots of folks of all stripes came to play ultimate. Connections formed over the last 8-10 years and people got to know neighbors. The park got safer since people were using it for sports. The drug trade diminished, prostitution diminished, and it was a welcoming place for families again. People often make the mistake of thinking that sport-players ruin the space for picnicers. Actually are interests are aligned. We help keep the park safe, and there is lots of non-field grass (on either side of the main fields, by the terraced fountain, etc) for folks to use for picnicing etc. In fact, I think we’d all be better off if DC Parks and People was put in charge and a community council made guidelines for use that related to the community. We’d be better off if the fields were properly sodded for athletic use (NPS refuses to use the right blend of grass since they are shocked *shocked* that the fields are mostly used for sports). If they were, there would still be grass. All this to say, NPS has been woefully inept at realizing what the people who use and would use the park actually want and their stifling bureaucracy has destroyed a vibrant park for much of a decade. This malpractice is unacceptable.”

  • Anonymous: On the upside, I’d be wearing shorts today if I were in Houston.

  • @Anonymous: Lived in both Ohio and Houston. Give me Houston any day.

  • Native Clevelander here

    If I’m not in a place where winter doesnt exist, give me DC any winter.
    It gets just as hot (not as muggy) in ohio. Hard to really judge because here I feel its made worse by the blacktop and all the cars and city stuff.

  • guess that really didnt have anything to do with anything.

    i’ve always wondered about how the city feels about the pick up games of soccer. like, they pay to have the grass put there and (laughably) maintained, and then the soccer people just go and trample it. they know that kleets and grass dont mix, there just isnt any place for them to go? I know there is a field on the corner of 11th and irving by the wonderland, where they have pick up games too. but that does tend to turn into a dust bowl.

    maybe just not plant grass?

  • –“so wait, the contractor is obliged to deliver grass that lasts a year after substantial completion, so they are just going to leave up a fence during that period and claim they met their obligation?”–

    Nearly every contract a contractor signs has a warranty period. For a building they are required to warranty the mechanical and electrical systems, the vapor barriers, the fire protection system, the finishes, etc. Its pretty standard.

    In this case, the contractor isn’t putting up the snow fences *merely* to say they met their contractual obligation. They will be doing other things as well so that the grass stays alive, as well as other plants. Everything with regard to the lodge structure is also under warranty, etc.

    They haven’t said they WILL leave the snow fences up for a year. The park district has said they MAY leave them up.

  • dani: go tribe.

  • seriously, sadly, it is nearly impossible to maintain good full grass all year around. Doesn’t matter if it is Paris, Cleveland, Houston it requires personal responsibility on the part of those who use it…

    ex: soccer or ultimate players should not ever play on a field that is wet… it tears the grass up and kills it no matter what type of grass it is.

    that personal responsibility just doesn’t exist. im a cynic, but its true.

  • Having plush unusable grass is useless. The point of public space is to be used. I am all for not playing on wet fields, but let’s all accept that the field is used for sports and plan accordingly rather than NPS being in denial and make plans which don’t work and won’t work.

  • The selfishness of the people who are saying that grass is to be “used” and therefore any park is a sports field is pretty staggering. More so because they seem the ones most indignant about the repairs they necessitated in the first place Soccer and kickballers will kill that lawn within a year if they have their way. Meanwhile most people would rather “use” the lawn by sitting on it or enjoying its beauty from the path. You get 5-10 people using the field as their personal sports complex, and nobody else can enjoy it til they’re done.

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