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Dear PoPville – Why is it hard to find out what the National Park Service is doing in your neighborhood?

by Prince Of Petworth July 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm 32 Comments

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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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