What the… The New 14th and Girard Park Under Construction

DSCN1061, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Well, this is odd. There was tons of construction going on at the new 14th and Girard Park. Apparently there has been some chatter about it on the CH listserv. I ran into someone at the site who told me that the electrical, concrete, and bathrooms needed to fixed. As he said – I guess it’s better that they fix it and look a bit silly than not fix it all. And of course there’s been some controversy over renaming it Obama Park. Man, who knew such a little park could stir so much controversy…



12 Comment

  • If it’s like Gerard St. Park, the toilets will seem to be be either broken, or permanently locked in shot order.

  • DPR got wind of how the park’s opening weekend was such a smashing success, and decided that changes needed to be made right away. The neighborhood’s drug dealers also complained that their needs were not being met, so the park is being upgraded to allow for more dark corners and hiding places. That would partially explain the necessary electrical upgrades, and as far as bathroom upgrades go, the contractor mistakenly installed working toilets. That will have to go.

  • Was all ready to post “And snarky comments in 5,4,3…” but, predictably, PoP commentors are ahead of the curve.

  • At first, this seems like a typical slap-to-the-forehead snafu moment. But upon further consideration, they probably did this the right way – i.e. they had some punch-list items that weren’t critical, so they put them off until after the grand opening so the celebration could go ahead as scheduled. The alternative would have been a park opening postponed, bad press, and a anti-climactic opening. Instead the city got to feel proud of an opening, and in a few months the repairs will be done and all will be forgotten. At least they’re on top of it.

  • I can’t figure out if Larchie’s post is satire or not. For the record, I would rather the park “opening” have been delayed instead of wasting time and money pouring concrete over improperly installed utilities, only to have to break up the concrete, fix the lines (hopefully), and re-pour the concrete paving surface.

    Also, naming the park after Obama is silly, one hopes Jim Graham will be stopped from engaging in such tomfoolery.

  • They are simply taking care of ‘punchlist’ items–things that aren’t quite right when the project reaches ‘substantial completion’. At ‘substantial completion’ of any project–park, home, office building, the project is turned over to the owner and the contractor has a certain amount of time to come back and make minor repairs or corrections.

    The opening ceremony is scheduled months in advance, just as ground breaking ceremonies are, and have nothing to do with the actual construction schedule or status.

    The park has been enjoyed by many and will continue to be. Bitching because the contractor is fulfilling their duties is stupid.

  • Not satire, but I should also point out that I’m not sure if these are punch-list items or not. I was conjecturing in my post. It would indeed be stupid to pour concrete over utilities if they knew they were wrong before pouring. I guess what I meant to say is that I’m glad the city residents got a good opening, people were happy, and whatever is wrong is getting fixed promptly. Not knowing any more about the situation, I’d say this isn’t a huge deal (as long as it gets fixed promptly and correctly).

  • These are not just punchlist items. They have to correct mistakes in the faulty workmanship because the park failed its inspection. It cost $1.6 million to renovate this park and that was before this newest construction. Why did such a small park with such few substantial features (the main one being bathrooms) cost so much money?

    As a taxpayer, I really want to know why it was so expensive. I think we need to hold the construction company a little more accountable for shoddy and expensive work and the District government needs to monitor how much these companies are charging. We do have a huge budget shortfall.

  • Jeez people do those of you bitching and moaning know ANYTHING about the design and construction world.

    What kind of inspection did they allegedly fail? It is a public space, it doesn’t have an occupancy class that it must conform with. If this is a owner inspection, then ‘failed’ only means the client is dissatisfied to a great degree.

    And anything not working, punchlist or not, will ALWAYS be repaired at the contractor’s expense, not the owners. Always, no matter what kind of construction project it is.

    $1.6 million isn’t much in the world of construction any more. In any project 99% of the money goes to hidden things–improved drainage, plumbing, electrical, and labor. The visible things are cheap.

  • Hmm, a little digging turned up this on the Columbia Heights message board, via DCist. It didn’t fail inspections. They are correcting “concrete blemish” and other punch list items.


    “I do not know where this failed inspections rumors came from, but they are not true. The park is closed to correct blemish in the concrete, and minor punch list items that occur in all construction project. The time line for the park closure is due in part to the curing time of the concrete (1 day to break out the existing, concrete, 7 days for the new concrete to cure), that’s 8 days out of 13days, with 5 days left to correct other blemishes throughout the project. Attached are copies of DCRA inspection approval. If you have any other questions please fill free to notify me.


    Daniel Simmons
    Project Manager

  • “…one hopes Jim Graham will be stopped from engaging in such tomfoolery.” Stopping career politicians from naming things after people will prove challenging.

    I attended opening and next day with my son. The concrete was in bad shape–particularly near the fountain. It looked like an old cinder track, actually. i’d hoped it was temporary before some tile-ing project or something.

    There are also two dead trees installed near the fountain. Willow Oaks. I hope “dead trees” wasn’t part of the contract.

    It would be a nice gesture to only close those portions of the park under construction (95+ percent) and put up some temp fencing to protect the work portion. Potential patrons are sitting on the sidewalk and the basketball court lies fallow.

  • From DB’s description, it sounds like the concrete was “spalling”, or flaking off, usually due to improper protection during curing. That sounds consistent with the ‘concrete blemish’ as the reason for the fix. It’s also a contractor issue, and hopefully is being replaced at the contractor’s cost.

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