What the Heck is Going on with our Pocket Parks?

by Prince Of Petworth June 2, 2016 at 12:55 pm 22 Comments


Been getting a bunch of emails and tweets about this – are you noticing overgrown pocket parks near you? Think the mowing scheduled got delayed because of all the rain? The grass grew faster than anticipated because of all the rain? Over/under, let’s say June 15th, for when they get cut?


  • textdoc

    Are these D.C. parks, or federal parks? If they’re D.C. parks, you can submit a 311 request for mowing.
    I think people have had a hard time getting the National Park Service to do stuff like mow the grass at Grant Circle.

    • textdoc

      On the 311 website, the category is “Grass and Weeds Mowing.” The description says it’s for mowing at “schools, government facilities, highways, median strips or parks and recreation areas between April 1st through November 30th only.”

    • NearNortheaster

      Many small triangles of grass formed where avenues and roads intersect are actually federal land. The Washington Post created a helpful map back when we legalized marijuana in the District:


      • textdoc

        Thanks for the link — this is fascinating!

  • Brian Smith

    Trying to attract research dollars for Zika research – you know that as soon as this gets into our region people will FREAK over this and then the Mayor and NPS will get their acts together (both are guilty on this).

  • ET

    The conractors not doing their job? We have 2 pocket parks that I believe are city near mean and they definitely wait a bit before getting them. Saying that they haven’t ever been that bad before.

  • nonanon

    DPW/DPR (not sure who actually mows them) wants to reduce the amount of mowing they have to do. this is one of the reasons given for the planned renovations to the pocket park at Kansas/13th/Quincy NW.

  • CH resident

    It’s not only pocket parks. Also Meridian Hill park – grass was super high this weekend. And I am dying with my grass allergies – grass pollen levels are insane right now, no doubt aided by parks not being mowed. Maintenance has gotten so much worse over the last few years, not only mowing but also snow removal – I remember that in early 2014 (I was on maternity leave so taking lots of walks), the snow was always immediately shoveled on the walkways in Meridian Hill park after a snow storm, and this and last year not at all, making it impossible to walk with a stroller.

    • Lou

      Speaking of Meridian Hill Park, which is National Park Service, the grass is not only a foot high in some parts, but the upper field in general is in horrible condition with patches of dirt, weeds, ruts, etc. The fountains have not been activated and drinking fountains are out of order. Reminds me of the condition when I first moved nearby 17 years ago. Does anyone know what’s going on?

    • BMouse

      +1. Meridian Hill Park is a mess right now.

  • This was a question in my neighborhood on some NPS owned land. A resident reported back that it’s just a backlog from the rainy May.

  • ClevelandDave

    Yup. Overpass at Virginia Ave and 24th (?) near Kennedy Center and Saudi Arabian embassy…

  • neighbor

    I’m guessing the mayor is scrimping on park maintenance since she blew the whole budget on terrible snow removal contracts.

  • Anon

    I can’t speak for these parks, but my lawn hasn’t been dry at any time that I could mow for several weeks. And now that the sun has come out, it sure is growing!

  • Jeff

    DC is spending $178 million on a $78 million dollar school. I think thats all you need to know.

  • DanielleF

    Both the parks you picture in the post are under National Park Service jusrisdiction. They (along with Fort Reno) are in dire need of a mow.

  • llucas

    It’s not just the pocket parks. Most of the parks in DC (including Park Service land) have grass that’s out of control. At a U.S. Park Service park near me, I watch small children trying to play touch football and soccer in grass that’s over their knees. It’s a mess.

  • Colhi

    DC just broke its record for the most consecutive rainy days ever. Of course that would have an impact on the growth of DC grass and the ability to mow. I may not be a huge fan over every elected official but I really don’t expect them to control the weather.

  • Anonymous

    Will someone please provide the location of the above photo so that it can be attended to?

  • mrm

    Does NPS have a website have a website that I can contact to complain? I would love to be able to walk my dog through Fort Slocum Park at some point this summer.

  • Kevin

    The very kind NPS guy at Meridian Hill Park told me that NPS Headquarters did not renew the contract so the fountains and grass will not be kept all summer until a new contract is signed. He said that is very unlikely and Meridian will look like this for awhile. I’ve lived near the park for over 10 years and this has never happened.

  • C. G.

    As other commenters have already said, we’ve had record breaking rains. Instead of taking pictures and whining about it on Popville, why don’t you mow it? Or if you don’t have a lawn mower then you can meet some neighbors by organizing an area clean up day where folks with mowers, mow, and folks with a grills, grill, and folks who don’t have tools can just pick up trash. Worked great for Takoma DC when we had the big blizzard! We had to band together to shovel sidewalks and curb cuts because of the high number of people who couldn’t do it themselves. Sure, we could assume bad will and call folks (or the city) lazy, OR we can decide to do something about it ourselves and do it for the greater good.


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