11th and Monroe St, NW Park Construction to Begin This Month?

From ANC1A05:

“The park renovations will start this month. Permits have been pulled, and the Department of Parks and Recreation will hold its first of several meetings for the community on 16 June 2011, 6:30pm, at the Community Center located at 15th and Girard Streets, NW. Please come if you can. If any of you has seen the Upshur Street Park, it is beautiful, well-designed and executed, and the architect of that park is the same one for 11th & Monroe.”

The park at 11th and Monroe St, NW has long been referred to as the “drunk park” – hopefully a nice renovation will earn it a new nickname?

Do you think a proper renovation will change the reputation and attract children and families to the park?

46 Comment

  • “Do you think a proper renovation will change the reputation and attract children and families to the park?”

    I think the drunks will always be there first. I tried to ignore them a few times and play there anyway (“look, I’m cool! We can share the space!”), but they’re really not the ignorable type of drunk– bottle throwing, vomiting, catcalling. The bums who hang around the playground at the Catholic church on 16th street are much more polite. Of course, judging from the wafting aromas, those bums are stoned out of their gourds. Maybe that accounts for the improved manners.

    • There was a argument between two dudes there yesterday around 2 pm. One guy pulled out a kitchen knife, which he apparently carries with him. The second guy ran and got bottles and started throwing them at the Knife Man. Then they both argued in the lobby of Mt. Rona. Nice little Sunday. Don’t know if they had time for Bed, Bath, and Beyond, though.

    • We only recently started going to that park because the drunks were always really intimidating when we walked by, but in the times we’ve been inside I’ve never actually seen them doing anything too unpleasant. Definitely no vomiting, bottle throwing, etc., although I do keep an eye on them and am ready to leave or call the police if they start getting out of line.

      But I don’t think the renovation is going to do anything to change its reputation and/or the drunk patronage. If anything, it’ll provide more space for the drunks to sit–it’ll be a nicer version of what they’ve currently got.

  • litter the park with job applications, it will keep the current inhabitants away.

  • Right now that park is only attractive to drunks but if they put a dog park in there you can bet the drunks would get chased out real quick by the dog-ers. We need to learn to use the power of NIMBYism for good.

  • i dont have any kids, but it would be great for the parents of the area to organize “take the park back” events for a large group of parents to go together.

    I dont understand why the police dont go to this park everyday. there are people drinking in public, it would be so easy to arrest them.

    • i think you hit the nail on the head

    • There was some effort to do that in the past–one guy who posts on the CH or NCHCA Yahoo groups lives very close by and proposed a standing time to “take back” the park. This had to be at least a year or two ago; my son was too little for the playground at the time so I didn’t pay much attention. It didn’t work, though. Parents can’t/won’t be there all day, every day, yet the drunks are. And the drunks really do not seem to care whether there are kids playing on the playground. They continue drinking and hanging out–it’s not like kids or even their parents are any threat to them, you know?

    • @dreas is right — this has been something discussed for probably the last 4-5 years. The problem is that well-meaning, productive citizens don’t have the time or resources constantly to fend off derelicts who have nothing else to do with their days than sit in the park and polish off another bottle of Popov. Think about it: this is just about the ideal place for winos: less-busy street w/ fewer cops, lots of shade, benches aplenty, limited access due to the gates, plenty of corners in which to pee. And for the 1-2 hrs. a day when you might succeed with achieving some detente with them to render the park a family-friendly space, the drunks are just going to wait you out.

      The only solution would be all-day monitoring and tough enforcement of every imaginable law by the cops, but that’s a waste of their time given the resources they have to deal with all of DC’s problems.

    • then what? the jails are overcrowded.

    • As a neighbor with a toddler, I can say that I have only taken my daughter there once – and that was at 8:30am. We stayed until a drunk man showed up and started yelling, so we had to leave. The police are there several times a week, so I’m not sure how they could help any more. And the notion that parents can “take back the park” is a far-fetched one, I’m afraid. It’s been attempted, and yet the police and Dept. of Parks and Recreation do nothing to back them up. This new design is likely to change little. On a similar subject, the stir that the owner of Tryst has created with his plans to make that restaurant on 11th and Monroe a 24-hour joint is funny to me. Critics of his plans fear that it will attract unsavory folks. If these critics would just come on by “Glass Park” during the day, they’d see it won’t take a 24-hour restaurant/coffee place/bar to draw them to our neighborhood; they are already here!

  • Im pretty sure when the building they are renovating caddy-corner to this park is complete, with all new employed neighbors and the Tyrst/Diner concept that may be open 24hrs, this park will be a less desirable hangout for these vermin.

  • andy

    One thing I would change on the current map/plan – scratch out the spot where it says “seating” and write in “drinking.”

  • Right now on the hobo version of Prince of Petworth, they’re talking about how to keep the children and families out of this park following the renovations.

  • Fantastic! We’ve been in the hood for some years and have seen the park improve a lot. Kudos to the police as well who always come when called if there is drinking in the park. It will get better.

  • it’ll be interesting to see what happens when the construction starts where everyone who hangs out there will shift to. the guys in the back playing cards don’t really seem to ever cause much trouble. the guys who hang out at the 11th street entrance are a mess. i’ve seen kids there more recently than before. hopefully things keep moving in that direction.

  • Get rid of the chess/checker tables. No need for those.

  • You know what they say, you can take the hobo out of the city, but you can’t take the bottle of cheap hooch out of his hands. The District of Columbia has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for both the privileged children of upper-class whites and homeless alcoholics alike. There is no reason why they cannot coexist, perhaps even in a symbiotic relationship. Let’s put our heads together and come up with a brighter tomorrow for a better future.

    • gotryit

      “Let’s put our heads together and come up with a brighter tomorrow for a better future.”

      Haha – are you serious? Spoken like a true politician. Now please, explain – what are you actually proposing? Think more? Hugs all around?

      Edward 40-hands brainstorming session?

    • For my next trick, I will offer up other time-honored platitudes about harmony, love, and fair play without actually saying anything.

      Then we’ll all remember that this is supposed to be a productive land parcel that should BUILD community within our neighborhood, not a gated community for irresponsible drunks to make families and passersby unsafe. If you want to see the neighborhood continue to improve (we’re on a great trajectory right now), long-standing and low-hanging problems like this one need to be addressed.

    • And yet…public drinking is illegal. So send in the cops every couple of days, pull up in a wagon, load ’em up, and send ’em to the drunk tank. After a while, they’ll get the message.

      • No, they won’t. You must be new around here if you think anyone’s going to “get the message” so easily.

    • “Daycare in the Park”: a new service brought to you by DPR. With an adult-to-child ratio of well over 5:1, your child will have more attention than in more traditional and costly daycares. Rates charged are on a free-will basis and payable in spare change. The city provides all play equipment and is insured against loss and injury from the same, but enrollees must bring their own bottles, as the instructors do not share and you might get cut for asking.

  • How about we just give up on the playground, make it into a drunk park? Maybe put a trough set into the ground so they don’t even have to get up to pee. Plant some shady grape arbors. Have a public health mobile pull up every day with snadwiches, needles, whatever they need. Put in a gazebo with an outdoor craps table.

    • Fine by me.

      I also wouldn’t be opposed to official dueling grounds. You could have a police officer on hand at all times, to make sure that duel participants are present of their own free will, that all the rules and forms are observed, to keep order in the line of folks waiting their turn… I’d feel a lot better if kids had a dedicated safe, contained space in which to shoot each other, you know?

    • Throw in a velodrome with plenty red lights to run for all the scofflaw bikers and I’m in!

    • Because we just built a brand new drunk park at 14th and Girard and named it Obama Park. How many drunk parks does a neighborhood need.

  • Well, I don’t have kids or a car but if you want the drunks out, turn it into a dog park. Unlike most parents, dog owners HAVE to be out every day and the dogs will do their part to intimidate/irritate. On June 1st we discussed the potential closure of the dog park on 11th because of litter over the Metro vent. Why not switch the two? Turn the well lit park on a heavily trafficked street to a place with proper playground equipment (and chess tables if you really want them) and turn the shadow-covered drunk park into a place dogs can bark and run around.

    • the site at 11th and park is and will be a metro service area. it’s not realistic that any playground equipment (or dog park stuff) will be installed because it’s not under parks and rec. the kids need a place to play. i think the park at 11th and monroe will continue turning around, especially if the construction disperses folks for a few months and then the park is enthusiastically reclaimed by families and kids. i’ve got no problem with the old retired guys who play cards and shoot the shit in the park. the tables are fine, IMO.

      • This gives me hope. They were able to turn around the playground area up by the Petworth Recreation Center. Perhaps it’ll be possible here, too.

  • I’ve been to the park a lot with my kid and the drunks have mostly kept their distance. But when I have spoken to them, they have always been really nice to me, my husband & the kid. Thankfully, we’ve never seen any violence, vomiting, etc. I am hopeful that the new park will attract more parents (& nannies) throughout the day and I think that will make it less desireable for the drunks.

  • We’ll always have drunks and they will always need a place to hang out – let’s just accept that and find a better place for them then a playground. How about one of the neighborhood churches opening their yard or parking lot? Put in some chairs and umbrellas and tables – sort of a byob hobo biergarten.

  • A dog park would be better.

  • Why not call the cops every single time you see dudes wiht alcohol? Constant pestering by the black and blue might just annoy them enough to leave for good. Why just sit there and accept it? If the issue is “non-responsiveness” of the cops get the cell phone numbers of the LTs/CPTs of the PSA (I have mine and he is very responsive) – and then start pestering them all the time to do something. Being annoying and proactive sometimes works. Ignoring the problem never works.

    • Maybe it’s worth noting that this park is situation just a block and a half from the 3rd District Police Substation.

  • Very dissapointing. They are reducing the amount of play equipment and play space for kids whgen there arent enough places for children to play in the neighborhood as it is.

    It seems like a way to turn an existing park into a glorified seating area requiring less work and responsibility on DPR’s part.

  • I am more optimistic than both. First, the design of the park as constituted is in my mind the biggest problem. The space is just flat-out ugly / looks shady and gross / has serious drainage issues, deterring many folks who would otherwise be inclined to bring children there, or just spend a nice spring day there. That should be remedied. Second, the high exterior walls and the below-grade park surface combine to make it feel very insulated from observers on the street, making it a perfect haven for criminal activity. The redesign should also largely remedy this problematic feature by making the park far more open to the street. By the time the park is reopened, folks will be moving into the huge vacant corner building, and soon thereafter a huge commercial presence will open there. Other folks have noted this, but to me, this is an ENORMOUS difference. So many more eyes on the street overlooking the park, and a commercial entity with an economic interest in safe, attractive environs. Being across from a largely vacant corner is part of what has caused the current problematic situation in the first place, in my view. Next, there will be a period of time when the park users will have to find somewhere else to go, and perhaps will be disinclined to return post renovation, when it has a very different atmosphere. Finally, I think we should all make a huge effort to get the police involved early and often. Again, there should be more incentive now by those in power to devote police resources to this park, because they aren’t going to waste a million plus dollar investment from the city, only to let it become a haven for criminal activity again. Any one of these factors standing alone wouldn’t be sufficient, but I think all of them, combined with the continued general evolution of the neighborhood demographics, will (so long as users are diligent about reporting problems) combine to establish a VERY different tone for the park.

  • people tend to “hang out” where they are allowed to hang out?? (1)MPD Officer could help with this and watch out for children as they play…………dogs have a park and children need a park!

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