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Upshur and Rock Creek Church Rd, NW

“Dear PoPville,

I am sure Soldiers Home Park is a common topic, but haven’t see much on it since moving to the area last year. Has there been any discussion about reopening parts of the park to the public, especially given the new developments happening south of the Children’s Hospital, including the rumor that the reservoir by Howard is going to be opened up and developed into a new public space?

Does anyone know the history and politics around this issue?”

We had a rather contentious discussion about public access to the Soldiers Home grounds back in 2009. Since then a group called Friends of the Old Soldiers Home has been created so you should definitely check them out. There also has been and are planned many events on the property including those in coordination with the great Lincoln’s Cottage. And don’t forget the golf course (though I think prices have gone up a bit)…

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Pocket park in Petworth

From DDOT:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced today that the public comment period for the proposed rulemaking governing private improvements on “pocket” parks is extended an additional 30 days. The comment period is being extended to allow comments from individuals and organizations—especially Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs)—that might not have been able to provide comments by the previous deadline. The extended comment period will last until Friday, September 19, 2014.

The rulemaking—which was originally published by DDOT in the DC Register on July 4, 2014—is intended to ensure that all improvements to DDOT-controlled triangle or “pocket” parks maintain public and open access. Additionally, the proposed rules will establish the agency’s policies and procedures for obtaining permits to adopt or make other private improvements to these small, federally-owned reservations.

The proposed regulations may be viewed here.

Written comments may be sent to: Samuel D. Zimbabwe; DDOT; 55 M Street SE; 5th Floor; Washington, DC 20003. Comments can also be sent to publicspace.policy@dc.gov.”

chuck_brown_park
rendering of Chuck Brown/Langdon Park located at 2901 20th Street, NE

From Marshall Moya Design:

“Go-Go, a subgenre of regional contemporary music that originated in Washington, D.C. during the mid 1960’s, is celebrated in this memorial for Chuck Brown, the legendary “Godfather of Go-Go.” When Chuck Brown passed away, the D.C. community yearned for a civic space where we could honor his musical legacy. This design, second in a series Marshall Moya Design has proposed for the D.C. government, incorporates photo mosaics of Chuck Brown from performances throughout the history of his career in a memorial park setting. MMD’s landscape design establishes an environment that captures the essence of this iconic musician with quintessential Washington, D.C. plantings of the region by using cherry blossoms and magnolia trees throughout the site.”

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“Dear PoPville,

I’ve been concerned about the National Park Service’s apparent disregard for D.C. residents — reflected in stories about Fort Reno and Carter Barron concert issues, inadequate trash management, etc. So, nearly three weeks ago, when Shevchenko Park — an NPS site at 22nd and P in Dupont — was suddenly enclosed in barbed-wire fencing, I was eager to know what was going on. Demolition of the plaza began the next day, and my inquiry about the nature of the work and its completion date, submitted through nps.gov, went unanswered for more than a week. After getting a vague email from the communications office with few details and no completion date, but encouraging me to contact them with any follow-up questions, I responded with a second request for the completion date, but heard nothing back. I then contacted an NPS superintendent for D.C. and heard nothing.

So I emailed the acting regional director, who told me someone would get back to me, at which point – more than two weeks after raising the simple question – a deputy superintendent told me that the work (basically redoing the entire area except for the statue of Shevchenko himself) wasn’t scheduled for completion until the end of October. That makes it a disruptive four-month project in a residential neighborhood, with no public notice other than signs that just went up yesterday but seem inadequate, since they provide no completion date or contact info.

I am looking forward to improvements at Shevchenko Park, which many Dupont residents see and use every day, but why should it be so difficult to find out what the National Park Service is doing in your neighborhood?”

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3000 Georgia Ave, NW

Thanks to a reader for sending:

“There’s a new structure going up at Bruce Monroe park. A large gazebo perhaps.”

Must be part of the $200,000 for Improvements we heard about in April 2013? Think a gazebo is a good addition for the park?

Still waiting to hear about the “NDC-developed mixed-use building on the eastern third of the site, comprising 88-175 apartments up to 1,000 square feet, 17,000-26,000 square feet of retail space”…

Also, Side Note: Found this old photo from the archives – what it used to look like – the old school back in 2008:

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meridian_hill_malcolm_x_park

@Andrew_Flick tweets us:

“Why is Meridian Hill Park sometimes called Malcom X Park?”

A question we’ve been debating for quite a long time. One commenter has said:

“From the Historic American Bldgs Survey: “The park is also known as Malcolm X Park, however, that name cannot be officially adopted because the name of a park with a presidential memorial [President James Buchanan] cannot be officially changed under federal regulations.”

The National Parks Service says:

“The park has had a long and varied history. In 1819, John Porter erected a mansion on the grounds and called it “Meridian Hill” because it was on the exact longitude of the original District of Columbia milestone marker, set down on April 15, 1791 at Jones Point, Virginia by Major Andrew Ellicott assisted by Benjamin Banneker, an African-American astronomer and mathematician. It was to this mansion that John Quincy Adams moved when he left the White House in 1829. At that time, the entire high ground surrounding the park was known as “Meridian Hill.”

Construction was begun in 1914, but it was not until 1936 that Meridian Hill reached the full status of a formal park. In 1933 the grounds were transferred to the National Park Service.”

In 2008 Washingtonian reported:

“A leader of the Black United Front began referring to the park in honor of the civil-rights leader on the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., says Simone Moffett, cultural-resource specialist for Rock Creek Park, the organization that deals with administrative issues for Meridian Hill. DC residents later voted for the name to be officially changed to Malcolm X. A bill to change the name was introduced to Congress in January 1970, says Moffett, but didn’t pass.”

So what do you guys call it, Meridian Hill, Malcolm, Malcolm X Park or Meridian Hill/Malcolm X park?

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Photo by PoPville flickr user dullshick

A reader passes on from the Mount Pleasant Listserv:

“A quick warning:

My roommate (a 5’2′ ‘ woman) was running down Klingle road toward rock creek park this afternoon around 5:30pm. Just before reaching the bridge, where there is a gap between the fence and the bridge railing, she saw a stocky, clean-cut latino man wearing a white t shirt and jeans exposing and touching himself (facing the street) and leering at her. After they made eye contact, he began running towards her, and she ran away towards Porter. He chased her for a few steps then turned and ran back up Klingle.

She called 911 and the police took a statement from her, and supposedly patrolled the area. She said she couldn’t tell if he seemed intoxicated, but was struck by the fact that he looked “so normal and clean cut, like anyone you’d see on the street.” I don’t know if they found him. Women running alone in the park should stay alert!!”