New Field at Walter Pierce Park in Adams Morgan Looking Amazing

I had to do a double take when I checked out this field last weekend. Back in June ’11 a a reader asked what was going on and we learned that they were fixing the irrigation system and planting bermuda grass. It’ll be back in use next Spring.

Walter Pierce Park is located at Adams Mill Road and Ontario Place, NW.

39 Comment

  • hoe. lee. shit.

    i used to live around the corner from here and would have never imagined it would ever look so good.

  • Let’s see what it looks like a month after it opens.

  • They need to keep people from using it illegally at all hours of the day for soccer. Honestly, just pony up for fake turf.

    • “using it illegally for soccer?” how exactly is that illegal?

      some of us only wish this was the problem of the “illegal” use of our neighborhood parks. f u.

      • If parks like this are overused, they turn into dustbowls. Duhh. That’s why you need a parks & rec, for permitting purposes to make sure it’s not overused. So when people go out there without having a permit and rip up the field, yes, they’re using it illegally.

      • Apparently you don’t understand how grass works. When it rains heavily or snows and people choose to play soccer (or lacrosse or polo or any sport) on the field, the grass is destroyed. That’s what has happened to this place at least twice before. There are usually signs saying not to use in bad weather but they are ignored. It’s pretty much common sense by the users but unfortunately a lot of people just want to play no matter what. I’m all about open access but if people don’t value the resource, you can’t allow it. DCPR (or whoever has jurisdiction) needs to make sure that they have a system where users are told to leave if the field is not playable.

        • Please state the amount of additional annual taxes (total sum or % increase in your current marginal rate) you are willing to pay in order to have a DCPR employee on call to stand guard over this park when the field is too wet for use.

          • Add it to the existing DCPD patrol for the area. DCPD will get information from DCPR daily on whether the parks are open for heavy use and the cops will drive by as part of their beat.

          • Give me a license to shoot, and I’ll do it for free 3 days a week.

          • It is paid for through taxes but also through user permit fees, at other parks at least. Stead Field at 17th & P is kept locked and only opened for the times of the permit. Although many people think the fields are free, the team I was with paid a pretty large (considering we were a small volunteer group) amount of money each season, in order to use Stead Field two evenings a week. (The use of the lights is an additional fee.) If it is rainy, or other conditions warrant, DPR does not open the field, even to permit holders.

            Even with that control the turf took a beating; as regular users we even spent our own money and time to help maintain the field, including spot seeding and repairing sprinkler heads when DPR couldn’t. All of that was in addition to the fee paid for the permits.

            Good turf on a playing field is not just a matter of beauty, it is a safety issue, which justifies some control of the use of the fields. Otherwise the grass will not last and thefield will not be safe to usea.

          • So you want cops coming into the park and telling young people to stop playing soccer because they’re messing up the grass on the soccer field? Don’t we spend like a gazillion dollars a year in this country trying to get young people to participate in healthy, harmless activities like soccer rather than wandering around on the streets with nothing to do?

            You people are nuts. This is a city, not the country club out where you grew up.

      • I’ll reiterate. I’ll take illegal soccer playing any day over the fireworks ignition/drug dealing/stabbing/shooting/crapping that happens regularly in my local park/rec center. Cry me a river.

  • It is beautiful.

    Enjoy it while it lasts.

    Bermuda lawns are very high golf like maintenance; regular fertilizing, irrigation, weeding, seasonal dethatching, aeration, insecticide for grubs and nematodes.

    It takes very good local government to fund and provide for required regular on going high grade lawn maintenance.

    • But if taken care of, will it withstand soccer and such? I just hope this isn’t a repeat of Meridian Hill, where they spent tons of money putting in sod of a type of grass that can’t withstand heavy traffic. And then the NPS defended this silliness by saying it was shocked (shocked!) that people played team sports there (all day for the past 25 years or so). Meridian Hill is now largely bare dirt again.

  • What is this the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time they have re-sodded that field?

    It’s going to be a mess again in a few months, quit spending the money on grass and put it to use somewhere else.

  • I agree with several of the previous comments. Either strictly enforce a no soccer/team sports policy or replace the grass with artificial turf. It’s nowhere near as pretty but much more durable and functional for actual activity. My prediction is that this field will be dirt by next spring. I will never understand the logic of spending money on planting grass/landscaping and then not maintaining it properly. And then doing it again and again…

    • ah

      +1. If it is intended for anything other than sitting/lounging/looking then they should just put in fake grass. The cost isn’t that much more, especially after a second replacement of grass and with maintenance being much lower.

      If this is just a verdant green a la England, then it looks great. But unfortunately I doubt the people of DC will be as restrained as the students at Oxford.

      • It’s a soccer field. There are goals on it, they were moved out of the way so they could replace the sod, but we’re not talking about the east lawn of the Capitol here. This is a park that has soccer fields, a basketball court, and occasionally hipster idiots who couldn’t hack kickball playing foursquare.

    • This won’t last through next summer. Artificial turf is the best solution for these kinds of heavily used fields. Regulating the use of the field and/or proper maintenance/reseeding/laying fallow is damn near impossible in this kind of urban environment.

  • Looks great. It’s amazing how many parks lack an irrigation system, even the National Mall. DC has enough dry spells that public parks need to have a sprinkler system installed.

  • I know it’s probably a big expense but It’d be great if the city allocated designated space for team sports (like they are doing for dog parks), and make grassy spaces like this off-limits to team sports and the pooping masses. Undoubtedly, this will become a big brown spot in little time, which renders it kinda useless for anyone wanting to sit in the grass or throw a blanket down for a little picnic. Meridian Hill Park used to put on those wooden fences to prevent groups from playing on the grass — sadly, those fences looked a lot better than the gigantic dirt field that is there now.

    • I love these people who want to theorize on how public spaces should be used even though they themselves don’t actually use them. You should work for NPS.

      This is a designated space for team sports. If you’d ever been to this park you’d know that there are other spaces including a very nice shady grass oval and some benches for the type of thing you think you might hypothetically like to someday use it for. Same goes for MH/MX Park — I’ve had plenty of picnics on the lower terrace and never had any problem with soccer balls, and even on a nice spring day it’s not too crowded.

      • But aren’t there types of natural grass that are specifically bred for being able to withstand team sports and heavy traffic? I mean a lot of professional sports stadiums have natural grass. Can’t they use that? Or does that only work if you limit use to a few hours per week, or whatever?

        • ah

          Most professional sports stadiums are used only for games, and same for college sports (where there’s grass) Sports like football and soccer are really rough on the grass, which is why you see all the youth/rec fields in really bad shape but fields like FedEx look really good. Yeah, you can take steps to make it better (drainage, certain grass blends, the ground underneath), but if you have sports being played 8-12 hours/day even in only good weather it’s going to wear down.

      • There is nothing wrong with having a place dedicated to team sports. But it should not be used when field conditions are poor. Not that hard to figure out. Pretty much every athletic field in the world uses those rules. If you think that just designating a place for team sports and ignoring it is the solution than I recommend you visit Walter Pierce Park in 2010 to see how that works out.

        • If I had a time machine, the last place I’d stop would be a park. Winning lottery ticket, here I come.

  • Curious where you read this space is designated for team sports? I’d love to see some documentation on that or a link that talks about it. And if you would have thoroughly read my comment, and not responded with a knee-jerk reaction you might understand that I’m not opposed to having a space for team-sports. In fact, I want people to have the space for it — they should have space for it. I just don’t like seeing spaces ruined by overuse — which is exactly what’s happened to the upper-field of Meridian Hill Park.

    • OK, I will humor you on this one. The field at WPP has been used as a sports field for as long as anyone can remember — we’re talking like decades before you or I moved to DC. It is currently listed on the DCPR list of sports fields at . Permitting for fields of this type is only required for leagues that use the space repeatedly — as noted by a poster above, some facilities are only available to groups that have gotten permits, but this isn’t one of them. The current regime of usage has been in place since around 2004, when the city renovated the field and installed the soccer goals.

      So let me repeat this loud and clear for those who missed it the first time: IT IS A SOCCER FIELD. Created and maintained by the city. You’d know that if you’d ever been there. And if you’ve never been there and it still bothers you that people are playing soccer on a soccer field, you have deeper problems that I can’t help you with.

      • So let me get this straight. Since it’s a soccer field, anyone has the right to play soccer on it at any time in any weather? And I’m supposed to pay to reseed the field once a year?

        Part of running a soccer field is maintenance. A large part. And part of maintenance is keeping people off it when it will get damaged. If you don’t understand how playing soccer on a wet field destroys the field, then I can’t help you.

      • Even though there were goal posts at either end (not meant to be permanent, but DPR never does anything right), it is actually not regulation soccer size.

  • Back in 93 or 94 I was living and working right near there. One afternoon a landscaping company took over the park for their annual picnic. In return, they laid sod. Unfortunately they did so as a competition among their crews to see who could lay sod the fastest. It was impressive to watch the entire field get sodded in 5 minutes. It was also an obvious recipe for one more failure at this field. This looks like an earnest attempt, but I am skeptical. “Benjamin…I just wanna say one word to you…are you listening?…Plastics.”

  • I lived a block from this park from 1998-2007. in the late summer of 2005 (I think that’s right–i m ight be off by a year), the grass area was fenced off, leveled (using multiple truckloads of topsoil), an irrigation system was installed, and it was turfed. The field remained fenced for 9 months or longer.

    Unfortunately, it was immediately apparent that the irrigation system was a disaster. Water ran off the field for literally 6 months, including all winter (which resulted in a fascinating ice river from December-February). Despite me and others calling the city multiple times, the water just kept running non-stop for several months. Finally, someone must have just shut off the main supply to the irrigation system, because the following spring, the water stopped, the fence came down…

    and within 3 months the park was a dustbowl rivaling the one from which the Okies fled in the 1930’s.

    here’s hoping the new sprinkler system actually works, rather than creating a swamp.

  • OOOOOOOH nice bathroom…said the drunk bum and proceded to squat.

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