Dear PoP – What’s Going on at Walter Pierce Park in Adams Morgan?

“Dear PoP,

I was wondering if you had any information on the soccer field in Walter Pierce Park. I walked by yesterday, Monday June 20th, and noticed the large fence surrounding the field. I was wondering if they were planning on laying down new grass or any other type of renovation?”

Mindy Moretti of the Friends of Walter Pierce Park committee tells me:

“They are indeed resodding the field. They will putting some in-fill dirt in and then planting bermuda grass. They are also fixing the irrigation system, which is part of the reason they had so many difficulties with the field the first time they redid it. At this point, as far as I know, there are no plans to put a fence around it (thank goodness). According to DPR, it will be back online in spring 2012.”

17 Comment

  • no plans to put a fence around it… yet, there’s a fence around it?

  • sigh, this field was GORGEOUS around 2004 when it did have a field around it and only authorized people could use the space. I played many a nice soccer game here. then they pulled the fence down and let everyone use it (I can’t tell you how many people I saw letting their dogs crap and dig on that field despite the dog park 5 FEET AWAY!). it took less than a year until the field wasn’t fun to play on anymore and after a year it became a dustbowl and has been ever since. we stopped playing here when one day of games bore witness to 3 serious injuries because of the conditions. sure, I believe parks should be public, but in this case, it’s kinda nicer to have a field that resembles a field.

    • *correction: when it did have a FENCE around it.

    • Who was authorized to play on it?

    • what was the authentication process for the users?

      • no idea what the process was. it seemed to me that soccer and baseball leagues probably just had to register with the city for an allotted time. we played here the very first season of district sports so they’d know more about it.

        • This field has never had a permanent fence around it and in 2004 when it was renovated, the fence that was around it was temporary fence during the renovation to keep people off. If you were playing on it with a fence around it, you were playing on it illegally.

          The 2004 renovations failed for a multitude of reasons, many of which were discussed in a 2009 Washington Post story about it (will see if I can dig up the link)but essentially it boils down to this: 1)shoddy work by the original contractor who has since been sued by the city over other projects; 2)over-permitting by the Dept. of Parks and Recreation which left no “free days” on the field; 3) a malfunctioning irrigation system that over watered the new field and then DPR’s response to fix it was to simply turn it off.

  • so the park is offline for the entire summer? is anyone else AMAZED by how long it takes to do stuff in this city? the Adams Morgan/18th street road construction immediately comes to mind.

    • I’m AMAZED you think fixing a road (which you can drive on right afterward) is the same as fixing a field. And the entire summer!? Gasp!? Nothing like reseeding a field in winter instead of summer, cause that’s not a waste of money or time.

    • If you want the grass to grow in so that it stays put for a bit you need to give it time. Not sure if you have grass where you live, we do, and it takes a heck of a time to repair damage to it.

  • The city needs to be better about fining people for unauthorized usage of the fields. The fields are ground to a pulp by people playing on them all hours of the day.

    And ALL fields should be irrigated, even the national mall. It actually does not cost much at all to irrigate fields.

  • But the biggest field travesty is the Marie Reed field. Looks like a third world country dirt patch. And this isn’t even due to kickball (which is relatively low impact), it’s always been like that. Where’s Jim Graham when you need him?

  • There’s also the matter of the Civil War era, African-American graveyard.

    But, it’s probably the irrigation system and overuse rather than ancient spirits that have doomed the field.

  • I walked through that park on the way home from the Metro every weekday from Fall 1998 until August 2007. The last time they redid that field, they fenced it off for almost a year, and during that winter, the irrigation system ran the entire winter, turning the low end of that field and the curve in the path into a frozen lake. When the spring thaw occurred, the field stood in water for months. Then they just gave up on it and it turned into a dustbowl to rival the one that forced the Okies to SoCal.

  • The key to maintaining any field is to not play on it when it’s wet. This field has soccer players on it at all times. I’m worried that if they just reseed it and don’t put up better signs saying authorized use only or do not use when wet (or both) then we’ll be right back in the same place.

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