Field Renovation Completed at Walter Pierce Park – Is the Fence a Necessary Evil?

Back in Aug. 2011 we saw how awesome the field at Walter Pierce Park (Adams Mill Road and Ontario Place, NW) in Adams Morgan was looking. Looks like the restoration is completed. One big change you’ll note are the pretty big fences. Do you think they are a necessary evil?

On the Adams Morgan listserv Mindy updates folks:

As I’m sure many of you have already seen, the field at Walter Pierce Park is now back online and ready for use (albeit with a permanent fence around it). According to DPR, the field will be open for free usage most of the time (unless otherwise permitted) and the gates will only be locked for maintenance purposes.

If you have an organized league, class, program, event that wants to use the field, you must apply for a permit from DPR (

If you just want to play some Frisbee, toss a ball, or lay on it, and it is not permitted at the time you wish to use it, you’re free to do so.

Signage has been posted at the gates explaining the need for a permit and we’re working with DPR to make sure those signs are bilingual.

While there are a whole host of rules, regulations and requirements affiliated with athletic fields in the DPR system (available on their website), there are a few important ones that everyone should be aware of whether you have a permit to use the field or not.

1) Boisterous conduct, vulgar and profane language is prohibited.
2) Fields should not be used within 24 hours of significant rainfall.
3) No dogs are permitted, with the exception of registered service dogs.
4) Alcohol is not permitted anywhere in the park.

The field is currently permitted for the following dates/times:

Mondays through June 14 3:30pm-5:30pm
Tuesdays through June 14 3:30pm-5:30pm
Wednesdays through June 28 6pm -9pm
Thursdays through June 14 3:30pm-5:30pm
Thursdays through May 31 6pm-9pm
Saturdays through June 26 10:30am-1pm
Sundays through June 26 10:30am -1pm

Some folks have already complained about the excessive drinking occurring on the field on Thursday evenings. DPR and MPD are both aware of the situation.

If you have any issues with people using the field when they shouldn’t be, or issues with the conduct of those using the field, please don’t hesitate to contact the DPR Park Rangers: 202-441-2605.

52 Comment

  • Sort of OT, but I wish they would do something like this around the Mall. The grass looks like shizz.

    • They are actually. They are putting in irrigation around the Mall (at least the third closest to the Capitol) and good quality grass and soil. It’s about time!

  • As a dog owner in the neighborhood, I’m disappointed that so many people are now using this field as a dog park. A lot of money has been spent to restore the condition of the field for recreational use, but some people seem intent on letting their dogs roam free now that the field is fenced in. This was a major mistake by the parks department to fence the field in. Their is a dog park across the sidewalk from the field, but people still use the field for their dogs.

    • Funny. My initial reaction was that fencing the field in was a good idea because it will keep people from letting their dogs run on it. But after reading your post, I realize that the fence may have the exact opposite effect. Which is ridiculous considering how much effort went into putting a dog park (the first official one in the city) in Walter Pierce Park.
      If the field gets trashed again, I say leave it. The city has spent lots of money rehabbing it – at least twice. If people can’t take care of it, too bad.

    • they need to post a “no dogs” sign here. I was shocked to see people letting their dogs “go” on this field where there is a freaking dog park 5 feet from this field. this is a field that children play on and people let their dogs urinate and defecate on it? wtf??

      • How long have you lived in Adams Morgan? And you’re shocked, Shocked, SHOCKED that people with dogs are selfish and inconsiderate? Sadly, you need to pay better attention.

        FWIW, I agree with you, it’s ironic that a fence meant to keep balls in is now having the effect of encouraging dogs to rip up a field rebuilt for humans. I say lock the thing up except for permit play.

        • *Some* people with dogs are selfish and inconsiderate. Other people with dogs are not. Just like *some* people who don’t own dogs are selfish and inconsiderate while others are not. Please stop with the generalizations (not trying to single you out at all, my comment goes for everyone).
          Megan (the non-selfish and overly-considerate dog owner)

          • Of course.

            However, having lived in Adams Morgan nearly 15 years I’ll say the proportion of “some” dog owners who are NOT inconsiderate and selfish is on it’s way down.

            Good for you for being thoughtful and considerate with your dog. Your co-dog-owners are giving you a bad reputation.

  • So now thugs – whether bullying kids ganging up on other kids or outright predators targeting passers-by – have a large fenced in area to work in while giving the victim only one small gate to escape through.

    Also, what used to be a lovely walk through the park is now ugly and depressing. Opportunities for social groups to mingle are much more restricted. When will urban planners start to learn how cities actually work?

    • have you witnessed the use of this field over the last decade? this comment is so far off the mark.

      • Her comments usually are.

        • Too bad we can’t be equally judgmental of you, Anonymous. Unlike you, she has the guts to have an identity on this blog.

          • riiiight. “victoria” is such an identity.

          • You missed my point, anonymous 11:07. Victoria is indeed an identity here, unlike “anonymous.”

          • You’re both right. While on the one hand, “Victoria” is most certainly a clear identity in PoPville with each comment made rounding out more robustly that identity, there remains a disconnect from the material Victoria walking around in the real world. Identifiable in here but anonymous out there.

          • I didn’t miss your point. I was making the point that “victoria” (which is likely not his/her real name) isn’t an identity at all.

          • As a regular reader, I feel I know Victoria (although I did meet her at a PoP happy hour) and I appreciate her comments, which are usually thoughtful and relevant to the topic at hand. Most of us regulars who don’t post our full names recognize the personalities and opinions of the other regulars and generally have an idea of where they live and other demographic information.

          • enough – victoria is off base. there’s nothing wrong with a wasit high fence around a park.

            “Opportunities for social groups to mingle are much more restricted. When will urban planners start to learn how cities actually work?”

            opportunities to mingle are restricted…by a four foot fence…really? this statement alone should be for readers to skip right over victoria’s post; not to mention the fact that her overwrought opening remark about thugs trapping people in a fenced in park is lunacy.

            think before you post – this goes for all the “victorias” out there.

          • There are no such things as guts on internet blogs Kenyon Dweller. Internet thugs need hugs. 🙂

          • You’re right Alex – “there’s nothing wrong with a waist high fence around a park.”

            My mistake. I didn’t realize the woman in the photo was a hobbit, and so the fence in the photo, being taller than she is, would only be 4 feet high. (Also people don’t usually describe 4 ft. fences as “pretty big.”) I haven’t walked by there since the fence was erected – only saw the photos. I’m relieved to know that the fence is only 4 feet high.

            I’ve seen the changes in this park over the past 25 years and know the issues. I still believe that by creating welcoming public spaces a city can make citizens more connected, more concerned and safer. A high fence would not do this.

    • To folks who are saying the fence is 4 ft high…they need to remeasure. I live right near here with my (responsibly managed) dog and at 5 ft 2 in the fence is well above my head the whole way around. It is too tall in my opinion and makes the walk past the dog park make you feel like you are sneaking down a back ally.

      It is probably necessary, but they could have tried a little to make it look less like a prison yard.

      • Yep, that fence has to be at least 5 & 1/2 feet because it is taller than I am. I go to the WP dog park 3x a week… and I no longer enjoy walking through the park. it really does feel like you are in a prison.

        I get why they did it.. but I can’t say that I enjoy the people park anymore. The dog park is still rocking.

    • I’m having trouble picturing how your paranoid fantasy plays out. So the “young thugs” will all queue up behind the fence and then use the gate to launch their attacks? And the “victims” will somehow be inside the park with no escape? Why will the “victims” be inside the park? Will they be lured in with food and beer? The entire park is not fenced off, just the field.

      When will commenters refrain from commenting on subjects they know nothing about?

  • wow. I remember back about 10 years ago this field was in pristine condition with a fence around it just like this. they removed the fence and in just 2-3 years it became a useless dustbowl that people would let their dogs shit all over. I do think the fence is a necessary evil.

  • Wish they had put in field turf for a big chunk of this so team sports could be played without wear and tear and lowered maintenance costs.

  • I like this fence…it makes it look professional. I don’t like the fence on the mall idea, would mes sup the feng shui.

  • I think the fences are definitely necessary, since they are permitting things like softball and soccer games. The fences very clearly mark the separation between the public space of the field, and the residents that back up to it. I’m probably biased, though, since I live in a condo right in front of the field–you can see it from my bedroom window. 🙂 Actually, you can see my bedroom window in that last picture….

    And I think it’s ridiculous that people would let their dogs onto the field, considering that there is a very well-used dog park literally right next door….

  • Dog owners are something else. I know people who were completely normal, rational people who would have thought letting anyone letting their dog run and crap all over a humans recreational field was disgusting.

    Then they got a dog and they apparently thought all the city and its residents existed to accomodate them and their dogs.

    Let their dog crap in someones yard and walk away, or if they did pick it up they would put it in that persons trash bin.

    Letting their dog run free and crap on city/school ball fields that are heavily used by children etc…

    Of course, when you bring this stuff to their attention, their first response is usually something along the lines of “Where do you expect me to take him”?

    I dunno…perhaps you should have thought of the logistics of pet ownership in a city before just getting one.

    Or when you say “take them to the dog park” I invariably get “But there is crap all over the place and the grass is dead”.

    And yet they never make the connection…yep, dog owners are a strange breed.

    • thank you. this is the complete truth and I am glad I’m not the only one out there who has witnessed this and feels the same way.

    • It’s even better living in a “pet friendly” building. Things that occur on a regular basis:

      1) Dogs relieving themselves (both kinds) in the hallway without being cleaned up or anyone being notified. And there are cleaning people in the building 16 hours a day.

      2) Dogs being let off leash and let out into the interior courtyard to do their thing. No cleaning up by owners.

      3) Dogs being walked in the garage to piss and crap on days when it’s cold or rainy.

      4) Dogs relieving themselves in the landscaped areas immediately out front, or at the school nearby. There’s a grass strip less than two blocks away.

      Some owners are courteous, but many (most) are not.

      • I think you’re exagerrating when you say many or most dog owners are not courteous. That hasn’t been my experience at all.

        I think not picking up after your dog is like littering. If you live in an area where no one seems to care the problem gets worse. I live in Capitol Hill, where there are lots of dogs, and have only seen evidence on the ground on two occasions. That’s pretty impressive considering I’ve lived there over a year, and on an average walk around the block I’ll encounter three or four dog-walkers. On the other hand when I lived in the suburbs very few people bothered to pick up after their dogs.

        • Emmaleigh504

          In neighborhoods where lawn/garden work is hired out I’ve noticed more dog waste left behind. I guess the dog owners leave it for the help to pick up.

      • As a dogowner this sort of behavior by other dog owners makes me mad. It’s no wonder its hard to find places that accept pets. If you get a dog, teach to do its business outside…and that means you as an owner need to be prepared to bundle up and take it out on a leash for 30 minutes in the freezing ass rain if that’s what it takes. Sorry you have to deal with such irresponsible owners, Denzien.

    • Actually, just like all types of people, there are good dog owners and bad dog owners. I very rarely see dog owners not pick up after their pets. There are also people who over generalize on message boards, and people who don’t.

    • Replace “children” with “dog” and I think you’ve got a point.

      • Newsflash: children are human beings; dogs are not.

        • so?

          i have neighbors that let their kids run wild in our building. up and down the halls, up and down the stairs, ride their bikes in the halls, spill food, kool aid type stuff (always red and sticky!) in the halls, candy wrappers everywhere…

          • people that compare children to dogs are out of touch with reality.

          • that’s true. dogs are usually better behaved and do not deserve to be compared to children. my dog’s been quietly laying next to my desk at work for six hours, but I bet your kid wouldn’t do that.

          • I don’t have a kid, honey. Seriously, your comments only affirm my belief that dog owners are out of touch with reality.

          • Clearly your neighbors are irresponsible parents. Most people with children don’t allow them to behave that way.

            Just be glad they don’t have both kids AND DOGS!!! The horror!

      • really? you see children crapping on the streets and parents not picking it up? you see children licking the legs of passersby?


        • Ever been to Wonderland on a Wednesday night? It’s entirely feasible to be licked by a toddler there, or have them smear ketchup on you. It’s a nightmare and some of the parents there are no better than the bad dog owners mentioned here.

          • if I recall, they have an event called toddler happy hour… which, if you complain about this, is like going to a dog park and getting mad there are dogs there.

        • Do parents leaving used diapers on the sidewalks count? Because that definitely happens a lot.

    • People let their dogs crap at Yards Park on the main grassy area when there is a dog park just a few feet from there. They sometimes pick it up, but even then, there is the “residue”. YUCK

  • waste of money and its ugly.

  • tonyr

    What does this mean ….?

    “If you just want to play some Frisbee, toss a ball, or lay on it, and it is not permitted at the time you wish to use it, you’re free to do so.”

    • I had to read that one about three times. What I THINK it means is that for certain group activities — such as team sports — the group has to have a permit to use the field. If no group has a permit for a particular time slot (i.e. if the field is not “permitted”) — then anyone can use the field for general recreational activities such as playing frisbee.

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