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Check Out a Plan for Youth Sports Fields at the North Parking Lot of RFK Stadium

by Prince Of Petworth December 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm 9 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user mosley.brian

From a press release:

The Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park(CRYSP) organization today unveiled a new community-inspired design for a youth sporting facility comprised of multi-use fields, substantial green space, walking paths, and a covered farmer’s market pavilion.  The project is a growing effort to provide underserved DC youth with safe, accessible and high-quality playing fields and green space for recreation.  The proposed site is the little-used North parking lot of RFK Stadium – an area of urban blight in desperate need of green infrastructure that can mitigate the storm water discharge to the Anacostia River.

Continues after the jump.

There is wide support for reclaiming the Stadium area as usable space. DC residents voted the Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park concept as the best idea submitted under the City’s Sustainable DC Initiative, and area neighborhoods are rallying behind the effort. “We have been really overwhelmed by the enthusiasm that the Kingman Park community has for designing this project,” said CRYSP President Mike Godec. Nick Weger, who lives across the street from the RFK parking lot on Oklahoma Ave., is particularly pleased the design reflects local neighbor perspectives. “At community planning meetings, it became clear that the best design would place the athletic field space between the above-ground metro tracks and the Anacostia – keeping sightlines clear and leaving ample community green space between the nearby homes and the fields,” said Weger. The plan also ties together green infrastructure on both banks of the Anacostia to maximize access – whether by bike trail, Capital Bikeshare, Metro, or the coming H St Trolley.

With the groundswell of support for the CRYSP initiative, the DC government is taking notice. “We are getting good feedback from Council members and we think this project fits in perfectly with the City’s direction on green infrastructure and promotion of healthy lifestyles and exercise. It is a project that is hard not to like – it solves several problems while really connecting Wards 5, 6, and 7,” said Godec. Councilmember and Chair of the Committee on Libraries, Parks, Recreation, and Planning Tommy Wells also has been a vocal supporter, saying “the city does not have enough recreation fields to support the growing number of families in Washington. This project is a great way to protect the Anacostia River and support District families.”

The number of DC children engaged in organized sports has exploded over the past decade, and the race is on to identify athletic fields that can accommodate the surging demand.  Citywide, 9,000 kids are registered to play soccer; more than 3,400 are registered to play football; and thousands more are playing baseball, softball, lacrosse and other outdoor sports. The trends point out that demand is outstripping the space available for play.  Because efforts to renovate existing field spaces will not meet demand, the RFK lot is a natural fit because its location on a flood plain makes it unfit for housing or business development. The concept of converting unused land to sporting facilities has worked effectively in neighboring areas, including the striking example at Arlington, Virginia’s Long Bridge Park.


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