14th and Girard Street, NW Park Opening Celebration Saturday

14th and girard flyer[1]

This morning Mayor Fenty attended a ribbon cutting ceremony but you can join in the celebration on Sat. I took some photos last weekend but will update this weekend. It certainly looks like a really nice upgrade. Glad to see the built in chess boards. And bathrooms too!


More photos and full press release after the jump.




Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty was joined by DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Acting Director Ximena Hartsock; Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCAH) Gloria A. Nauden; Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham; and the Ward 1 community at the new 14th and Girard Street Park for a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion and opening of DPR’s newest park.

Redevelopment of the park, located at 14th and Girard Streets, NW, began with a community-driven planning and design process in spring 2007 with the goal of completely redeveloping the existing park to better serve the community. Demolition of the old park, which featured large amounts of concrete and little usable green space, began in December 2008, and construction of the new park began earlier this year. The DC Housing Authority provided construction management for this DPR capital improvement project.

“The role of the District Government is to serve our residents, and the new park we opened today is truly a product of the good work that is accomplished when we work directly with the communities we serve,” said Mayor Fenty.

The design of the new 14th and Girard Street Park includes a number of exciting new improvements and features for the enjoyment of park visitors. With new fencing and lighting throughout the entire park, the 14th Street entrance now features stainless steel cityscape cutouts that echo the surrounding architecture, and new street-side banners with graphics that combine classic chessboard patterns, cityscape images, the District flag, and the DPR logo.

A new central plaza offers a welcoming open space, and at the center of the plaza is an interactive user-controlled play fountain with four water jets that spout out in random patterns. Landscaping throughout the park is comprised of plantings of shade and ornamental trees, flowering shrubs, and low-maintenance ground cover which will provide a changing palette of color and texture throughout the year. In addition to new outdoor seating, more game tables, which are ADA-accessible, have been installed preserving the presence of the amateur chess playing community, a regular sight at the park. Two new bathrooms with ceramic tile from floor to ceiling were also constructed.

The outdoor multi-use playcourt in the park was also rebuilt, and is now ADA-accessible and is finished with a state-of-the-art Premier Court® cushioned play surfacing system. Premier Court® is an all-weather cushioned sports surface ideal for outdoor installations. The playing surface is made of a patented composite with a standard acrylic recreational coating, and was developed to eliminate cracking and prevent weathering. The outdoor mutli-use playcourt will be open for the whole community and is painted for basketball and a soccer like game called Futsal.

“DPR is committed to providing recreational facilities that serve our residents and help build community,” said DPR Acting Director Hartsock. “The new 14th and Girard Street Park we see today is the result of a good partnership between DPR and the residents we proudly serve.”

DCAH, located just one block from the park, has joined with DPR as a community partner and will be overseeing an art installation by a professional artist or artist team which will work with local residents and youth to design and install the work on the east wall of the outdoor multi-use playcourt. DCAH has recently received applications from DC artists and arts organizations to be considered by an art selection panel comprised of representatives from the community, youth, District government agencies, and architects. The artwork is scheduled to be installed in fall 2009.

“The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is proud to participate in this great project,” said Gloria A. Nauden, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “The Commission is committed to giving every community in the District the opportunity to experience the great work that our city’s artists have to offer.”

Community celebration of the opening of the new 14th and Girard Park will continue on Saturday, July 11, as DPR in partnership with the Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative will host a celebration from 12 noon to 8 pm. All are invited to come out and enjoy fun, food, and entertainment.

39 Comment

  • outdoor public bathrooms? yikes….i can only imagine what will go on in there..

  • I hear that Bumfest will be relocating to this park. After the BBQ grills are installed, that is.

    Looks like a nice park. But it’s usually only a matter of time before a handful of idiots ruin it for everyone. I hope I’m wrong.

  • There used to be bathrooms in Malcolm X and in Dupont on the west side of the park. Both became massive drug’n’prostitution-fests. I give it 2 months tops before the city has to brick up the bathroom facilities in this park. Nice concept and I appreciate the city adding amenities like this, but it just won’t be workable here.

  • Great idea, the worst place for it. Those bathrooms are going to be trouble.

  • 2 months? that’s generous. try 2 weeks.

  • OK, so let’s start the over/under

    2 months on the bathrooms
    2 weeks on the basketball nets
    1 week on graffitti anywhere in the park
    1 night on an overnight park bench visitor (which actually isn’t funny…but)

  • optimism

  • 2 weeks? Come on now – it will take longer than that for the paperwork requesting the bricks and mortar to get off the desk of the person ‘in charge of bricking up bathrooms’ at DPR.

  • At least there are planters and benches to duck behind when the shooting starts

  • Jesus Christ guys, it’s a park.

  • It ;ooks like a really nice park, hopefully it will be well used and kept clean. I wish we had some more parks in Petworth or maybe I just haven’t found them yet.

  • I am a little scared, what will happen in the park after dark. It will become a pick up and drug area for the boys in hood.

  • Looking at Google map’s ‘street view’ to compare the old park, all they’ve really done is removed the obnoxious primary color-painted concrete, killed some mature trees and replaced them with juvenile ones, and repainted the basketball court.

    Oh, and added some homeless shelters that no doubt will be occupied before the weekend is up.

    But I guess it is nice that some effort is being made.

  • where is this “green space they mention, as I still see a helluva lot of concrete?! and yes, i must agree with most of the comments above that it will be a very short time before this place is plagued with drug dealers, bums and grafitti…..sigh.

  • I agree with all the pessimists above- but what do you think we should do for public space in these neigborhoods?

  • I am sure that the corner boys will be doing blow jobs for money in the bathrooms. One not very well known fact is that the drug crews work as prostitutes or hustlers.

  • Sadly, I agree with everyone that the park will not remain pristine for long. What they built is nice, but without daily maintenance, cleaning, and being locked up like a fortress at night, it just amounts to a reshuffling of deck chairs on the Titanic. What we really need in Columbia Heights is a BID to keep the streets clean, and deter and report nuisance and crime issues. Then, maybe, we can have nice things…

  • On a semi-related note, I was just out walking the dog and saw to serious hookers on the corner of Taylor and Illinios ave, NW I don’t know if I was more stunned by what they had on or that they were working this part of Petworth. who the hell cruises a quiet, tree-lined street lookin’ for whores? i wonder if this is a regular occurence around there? should i have called the cops? could they have done anything? they were clearly hookers.

  • When I walked by this morning, it did appear that there are large rolling gates at the entrance of the park, so I’m guessing the intent is to lock the place up after dark. and the whole thing really looks very nice. Much, much better than the old park.

  • if you and your neighbors use the new park regularly, and make it your own from the outset, organize neighborhood watch schedules, and plan regular events in it, maybe it will less likely be run over by vagrants, prostitutes, and drug dealers.

    hm. am i really the first one to say that? really?


    now go back to watching your cable tv and netflix and ignoring your community, except to criticize on the internet. nice job, guys. and girls.

    your own inaction and apathy invites the crime that you anticipate. sad that you’d rather wait it out a couple weeks and blame the DC government for failure than take positive action to prevent and make your own neighborhood nice. that is seriously crazy sad! serious, your parents would be ashamed.

    I personally will be there tomorrow. I am a fat white dude with a huge ass beard, like the guy from the movie ‘hangover’. look out for me, i look exactly like zach galifianakis. i will be asking people there about forming neighborhood watch, and ways to organize regular community events in this space to crowd out crime.

    i hope i see everyone who commented negatively in this thread there. otherwise, shut your mouth and never post about this topic, like… ever again.

    thanks. i guess.

  • serious. this reminds me of the posh dog park in adams morgan, behind mama aishas.

    eventually, all the grass in the dog park was torn up because of… people’s dogs.

    the dog owners didn’t like having their dogs run around in the dirt, so they started releasing them free reign in the adjacent soccer field. which is not a dog park, but rather a soccer field. and not fenced.

    evidently, no dog owner ever thought to bring grass seed to the dog park and take care of the property they enjoyed every day themselves. “its a dog park and the dc govt needs to care for it or we’ll let our dogs use the soccer field, off leash”

    same mentality here. you have been given a gift. use it, appreciate it, be responsible for it, and do not be a douchebag about it.


  • Again, didn’t write the above comment…

  • While this is certainly an improvement, I thought part of the point of parks was to provide some green space? I really hope the 11th and Monroe Park, which the city basically doesn’t give a damn about and has, despite lots of efforts, shown no interest in actually improving (it is in awful condition), if it EVER gets redone, includes a much higher percentage of greenery. The civic plaza on park road is likewise going to have almost no greenery. And the city didn’t even put any trees in in front of Kenyon Square. A little bummed at the lack of any greenery in Columbia Heights outside of Meridian Hill — 14th street is basically pure concrete at this point, even in the public spaces.

  • Yeah, like Brian says, you yuppies (I mean this in the original, non-derogatory way) need to stake a claim to it first so it doesn’t turn into Bumfest South.

  • To any commenter that believes he/she needs to “takeover” the park so that it does not become crime infested: this park has a rich history that is not based in crime. The park was rehabilitated to improve the deteriorating conditions of the physical aspects of the park, not the social components. While the park is public and some of the changes to the design were made in order to change certain negative behaviors (i.e. there was an area of the park where users made a draining area their own urinal stall, hence the inclusion of a bathroom in the new design), by no means is this park in need of a “takeover.” I agree the park needs to be cared for by all users–old and new. But instead of acting like you believe the park is a territory, how about you approach the park as a public space and use it with the other long-term park users. Again, if you have a lot of time and want to read more about the park prior to the reconstruction, check out my website where I have placed a long paper about this park: http://wordsofwitte.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/girard-street-park-grand-opening/

  • the chess boards are a nice touch because on the whole they attract better elements than the benches do. if you don’t want people sleeping on the benches, you can always install the airline seat armrests mid-bench like they’ve done in parts of downtown.

  • Nicely said, Pete.

  • very cool, Pete. thank you!

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Wow, folks don’t need to be so negative. This is a great thing. I just got back from the opening festivities (more later) and it was awesome. A great vibe in the air. And it is a beautiful day. Smile people. Embrace the beautiful life and I guarantee you’ll have more fun. If there are problems that arise in the future we can note and discuss them then. For now let’s have a little benefit of the doubt, yeah?

  • I think I will walk up the street and check it out. But I do think the bathrooms were a bad idea (and wasn’t there some resistance to them?). It’s not like the park is going to be a drive to destination for families wanting a staycation. Most people who will use it live within a couple blocks. They can go potty at home.

  • While this may be lost on those of you without kids, public bathrooms make life significantly easier when you’re trying to do anything with young children. And kids are the target market here, right? If undesirable elements mis-use them, well, that’s what we have police for.

    There are still public bathrooms at Meridian Hill at the top of the big fountain. I have taken my two year old in there several times in an emergency situation and have never had a problem.

  • I just came back from the park, I missed you POP, I was there from 230 to 4 aprox. I didnt see the guy with the huge beard, I wanted to say hi too. Anyway, here is my two centavos: The park is great and an improvement of what was there before. The community seemed so happy and festive it was contagious. They were giving free hamburgers, hot dogs and soda. There was music and folks were dancing and having a great time. They even had a Michael Jackson tribute and an impromptu dance contest (to Billie Jean) and a cool kid won it. A bunch of kids (and three older white dudes) were going at it at the new basketball court and seemed to be having a great time. An older guy was teaching a kid how to grab the basketball and dribble.

    Where were you Ontarioroader? Naomii? Bloomingdale? The anonymous bunch? Some of you prejudged the whole initiative even before it was opened and didnt even go there to check it out, meet the neighbors, the organizers, take your kids to play with the kids at the fountain.

    Some of you dont like the Georgia Av Caribbean parade, the 4th of july neighborhood fireworks, the drum circle, the urban parks, et al….Geez, what do you like? or better yet, what is your idea about a neighborhood? When you think of park and benches all you can say is “bumfest”?

    I am transient here in this city. One day I will go back home. I have many fond friends and memories form this area, Ive met the coolest, most interesting people while here, nevertheless, and this is from the perspective of a foreign Latino, I have seen the double standard, racism and classism that still divides this country. You might not want to accept it but it’s still there.

    Excuse me if I have offended anybody but I just think its very unfair to the community and the friendly, happy folks at 14th and Girard to label them as “bums, prostitutes, shooters, boys in the hood.”

    My name is Néstor and my Ojo is Latino

  • I think it does look nice, but i do enjoy the irony in listing “little usable green space” as a reason to renovate the old park, when the renovation just poured concrete over what was the existing green space.

  • my schedule would only allow 11:30am-12. even that early, the grill was out and already in use, and the park was full of happy people. the weather was perfect. i met a very friendly anc commissioner, and we spoke 10-15 minutes. the police were there interacting in a very positive way with the park patrons. good times all around!!! and to think, the *real* party didn’t even start till 2!

  • Glad to hear that Brian, it was really cool. The police were definitely interacting….

  • I know its sacreligious in this community to say so, but I think we already have plenty of green space. I didn’t move to the City for more parks. The whole thing should have been torn out and replaced with a building. This will just be a private playground for the nearby projects and for vagrants. Sure there will be a chess game or two (maybe), and a few good basketball games, but I think it was an overwhelming waste of funds for something that will not benefit the community as a whole.

  • LOL, the whole point of parks in city neighborhoods is that they help establish community interaction, involvement and identity. Where else are people supposed to meet and learn to become a community? Not everyone flocks to wonderland bar or the red derby to meet the neighbors.

  • It is still as ugly as it was before.

  • I would also recommend using a porous surface sealer to protect against outdoor elements

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