Work Finally Begins at 11th and Monroe St, NW Park!

“Dear PoP,

I snapped this picture this morning as a crew was working on taking down a tree. The tree that was being taken down was along the South edge of the current fence. I believe that the plans call for the trees on the West side to remain (which is nice because they are nicely established and provide great shade!). I noticed the fencing go around the park yesterday (I’m not sure when it went up, but I noticed it yesterday). Anyway, I thought you and some of your readers would be happy to know the progress at this park is finally starting!”

Fantastic news!

DPR writes:

“Good morning all – just a quick update to let you know that renovations have begun at 11th & Monroe! Once I have an updated construction schedule, I’ll keep you updated as things progress.”

23 Comment

  • Some of the best neighborhood news in a long time, the park will be WORLDS better with the new design, now we just need to make sure to keep it clean and safe

    … can’t wait to see that section of 11th Street later in the fall, with the park renovation completed and the 11th and Monroe condos going on sale (and hopefully work on the retail component well underway, they may have trouble with sales so long as the facade remains in current condition). If that perpetually stagnant tan building on 11th and Park can ever be finished (how many starts and stops with that building, at least half a dozen), the transformation of the block will be complete. And maybe the added activity will help attract retail or offices to the large vacant space above Meridian Pint!

  • What is the plan to keep the bums out? Building a new playground is pointless if you still have dudes openly drinking and urinating there during the day. Everytime I walk past there, I want to call the cops.

  • No joke. It always smells like piss on the sidewalk. It’s disgusting. I hope for the best but am not sure fixing the park will fix the problems.

  • If you are walking by and see drinking, please do call the cops. They do show up. I know because I frequently call! Please also call when you see them in the alley drinking.

  • First, the redesign of the space itself should go along way. The plans will make the park much more visible to the street (by eliminating certain trees and barrier walls, lowered fences, and raising the sunken park to street level), making it feel less like a safe haven for criminal conduct. Second, the park being shut down for many months might encourage some folks who use it for illegal purposes to find an alternative (yes, just shifting the problem elsewhere, so not ideal). Third, with brand new play equipment and a far more attractive design, the park should attract a lot higher concentration of families, which will likely scare away some of those would rather use the park to urinate, drink, or fight in.

    All of that is just a start, however. My hope is that when this park opens, regular users will form a park association to keep it clean and safe, police will amp up their presence at the outset to demonstrate a no-tolerance policy for public intoxication, and folks such as yourself will not just think about calling the cops, but actually will, every time we see problematic conduct. If the community and the police buy-in to making the new space a mecca for legal behavior, I think the park can be a huge success and appeal to a wide variety of people, rather than be viewed as a safe place to drink in public.

    • See, I look at the new design and I just see more, and more comfortable, seating for the drunks. And the drunks don’t give a crap if families are there. My son took a sudden liking to that park this spring and we’ve been there under all sorts of conditions–lots of other kids, just us, and everything in between. The drunks really, truly don’t care who else is there. They’re wasted, they’ve got their spot, and they’re not going anywhere until the cops tell them to move along; even then, they’re back in place 15 minutes later.

      Anyway, people have tried multiple times to get some sort of “take back the park” movement going. It hasn’t worked yet. I don’t mean to be so pessimistic, but I just don’t see how anything is going to change with the new design. People talk a big game about changing stuff, but few are really willing to put in much work to actually get it accomplished.

    • I don’t call the cops because it’s not my neighborhood. I am normally just passing through, and I figure the people who do live there need to stay on top of the situation. I only have so much energy to report every infraction I see….

  • I agree with NoLongerNew2ch — I think the design with help a lot. At the very least, the kids at play won’t be surrounded by drunks. And as someone who goes to this park in its current state with my kid, I would be totally game to form a park assocation to keep it clean, etc.

  • can we petition the police to make patrolling the new park a priority?

    if i were a cop, i would go there everyday and arrest people – its the low hanging fruit common on!!!!!

  • I assume the park will have no flat surfaces to sit on? does anyone have the plans?

  • The finest solution would be to give the drunks their own corner of the park, to keep them away from the precious little ones. Create a poured-concrete version of a quaint old Irish pub, complete with bar and stools.

  • The plans are on this site:

    Yes, there is plenty of seating … I don’t see, personally, the point of a park if there is no place to sit. I mean, at one extreme, there is the “park” at 14th and Oak, which is an ugly, uncomfortable, unuseable space — what is the point of that? If you appeal to lawful users, yes, you will, by defintion, make it more appealing to unlawful users. But I still believe that the more (1) lawful use there is and (2) the more visible ALL activity in the park is to the street, the more disincentive there will be to drink in public. The redesign is not a sinecure, but it is without any doubt a necessary part of the solution, and hopefully given teh huge city investment, resource-wise, in the park, the city will also make an investment in improved enforcement, particularly at the outset.

    And by the way, I believe the 14th and Girard park, which is in a far more crime-ridden area, generally, improved tremendously following its renovation. Places that look dirty, abandoned, uncared for, and rundown attract crime. I don’t think there is anything controversial in that theory, and while the redesign doesn’t guarantee anything, we CAN guarantee that the park, in its current condition, would never materially improve. So let’s just call the renovation a necessary but not sufficient precondition to solving the problems at the park …

  • saw the fences last night coming home, work hadn’t begun this morning when i left. it’ll be interesting if the hispanic guys just move to the NE corner of 11th and monroe for a place to hangout. i know some of the older black guys who play cards will be bummed. the redesign will help a lot, but, honestly, the drunks mostly sit out on the front steps not just in plain view but right next to the street. hopefully a few months breakup and some police presence helps clear them out for the long run once it opens back up.

  • Good to see some progress.

    I hope some day they begin work on the long-promised, oft-redesigned rehab of Raymond Playground on 10th, between Quincy & Spring.

  • The police have been a pretty regular presence there for the last few weeks, even yesterday they moved everyone along who were using the alley as their new hang out. But as people said, they all just return 5 minutes later.

    I agree that the plans will hopefully open up the place so people do not feel as comfortable “letting themselves go” so to speak. But some of the drunks are just SO wasted they don’t care about anything, including themselves.

    And, we will still need parents and kids to use the place to really make a difference and some reporting and enforcement from the police when people feel their child’s comfort and safety are at risk.

  • To clarify, the seating will not be lay downable (it’s divided, at least on the plans). The playground will be better separated (no more fishbowl children surrounded by drunks). The level of the park will be raised to passing people and cops can more easily see what’s going on. The seating is moved closer to the street (no more hiding in the corners). All changes with great potential. Maybe they won’t work, but it’s worth a try, people.

    Now, if the police would just come and get the drunks out of the alley in the meantime. Are they seriously going to stay there for MONTHS? There were seriously about 30 people lined up on the edge the other day.

  • I’d like to see just one area church offer their grounds to the drunks. Give them some tables and chairs and a porta-potty and let them drink where they won’t bother everyone else. (It’s easier to “come to Jesus” when you’re already in his back yard.)

    • i believe mt. rona does a fair bit of outreach and offers services to the park’s regulars. at least that’s what i’ve heard. the alley is definitely not an improvement. i especially hope the alley btwn 10th and 11th nw doesn’t become an alternate spot.

  • Said alley is the my alley, and the “bums” and “drunks” have yet to bother me or anyone I know personally. This thread is getting a bit NIMBY, even by POP standards.

    I do look forward to the park, but the celebration of it’s renovation should be based on what it offers people, not how it *might* strategically deny the underprivileged.

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