Site of proposed Events DC playground (Photo via Google Maps)The construction of a playground on an empty lot near Eliot-Hine Middle School moved closer to reality last night.

ANC 6A unanimously approved a proposal to transform the vacant property at 20th and C streets NE into a park for children. The decision came after Events DC, which manages the land, spent months trying to solicit support from locals.

“Our ANC is supporting installation of a playground at this location because we believe our neighborhood can be best served by providing additional space for children and families to play and gather,” ANC 6A chairman Phil Toomajian wrote in a letter he plans to send to Events DC on behalf of the commission. “In addition, residents in our ANC living near this location have expressed support for the proposed new playground.”

Events DC has yet to discuss any possible features for the park, which still needs the approval of the organization’s senior officials before construction can begin.

“Just because you guys will provide a letter of support does not necessarily mean this is going to happen,” Events DC spokesman Peter Kirschner told ANC commissioners. “But it’s certainly a help and push in that direction.”

With or without the new park, Events DC still plans to maintain the nearby Oklahoma Avenue NE playground, which also is on property the organization manages. But Events DC may demolish that playground to make way for future development.

Andrew Harrington, Events DC’s director of venue operations, said in August the Oklahoma Avenue property is “sort of a high priority area for whatever is going to be there down the road.”


Morning Rundown

Councilman Allen Joins Rally Against Exelon-Pepco Merger — Councilman Charles Allen of Ward 6 spoke out against the proposed merger of Pepco and Chicago-based energy company Exelon at a rally yesterday. [Washington Post]

Navy Yard Elementary School Looks to Deter Graffiti With New Mural — Eagle Academy Public Charter School hopes that new mural on a frequently-tagged wall of the school will deter vandals. [WJLA]

Eastern High School Football Team Hopes to Prove Themselves Tonight Against Wilson — The Eastern High School Ramblers hope that tonight’s game against Wilson will give them a chance to prove they’re still an elite team, despite their 1-2 record this season. [Washington Post]

Capitol Hill Area to Host Several Pop-Up Parks Tomorrow — Several parking spaces in the Capitol Hill area will turn into mini pop-up parks tomorrow as park of the District’s annual PARK(ing) Day. [Hill Now]


NoMa BID PARK(ing) Day 2014 (Photo via NoMa BID)

Several pop-up parks are slated to take over Capitol Hill parking spots tomorrow.

Businesses, organizations and residents throughout the District will celebrate the annual PARK(ing) Day by turning parking spaces into pop-up parks, or “parklets.” They will be open from about 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nine parks are expected to go up in the Capitol Hill area. Each will have a different theme, purpose and activities for locals.

The locations and sponsors for the parks are:

  • 1222 1st St. NE (NoMa BID, The JBG Companies and Washington Animal Rescue League)
  • 1200 1st St. NE (NoMa BID and Do Tank DC)
  • 1511 1st St. NE (NoMa BID and Carpe Librum)
  • 1511 1st St. NW (NoMa BID and REI)
  • 200 I St. NE (Senate Square)
  • 810 First St. NE (Office of the State Superintendent of Education)
  • 204 3rd St. SE (The Trust for Public Land and Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition)
  • 1100 4th St. SW (Office of Planning)
  • 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE (The JBG Companies and Ruppert Landscaping)

The Trust for Public Land was one of the original sponsors for the national PARK(ing) Day movement, which began in San Francisco in 2005 as a way to rethink the way city streets are used. On Capitol Hill, the organization worked with the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition to build a parklet that raises awareness with a photo booth, tables for food and materials from both nonprofits.

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase our involvement to provide more open spaces for the American people,” said Ryan Lemier, campaign associate for the LWCF. “We’re really exited D.C. has decided this is a valuable thing to keep doing.”

Neighborhoods also have coordinated efforts for the event. NoMa this year will have a pet lovers park, Vision Zero survey for bicyclists, a lending library, an urban camp and a dog beach.

This year will be the first PARK(ing) Day for Senate Square, the apartment building that will have the dog beach. The pop-up park will include a small pool, grass, free treat bags and toys for dogs.

“This idea made perfect sense because this area is so heavily populated by dogs,” said Erica Krauss, leasing manager for Senate Square. “We love our dogs, and we want to help bring more green space to the city.”

This year there will be approximately 30 pop-up parks throughout D.C. on Friday, more than double the amount from last year.

Photo via NoMa BID


Lex, a NoMa dog (Photo via Facebook/Dogs of NoMa)

Dog owners in NoMa are looking for Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen’s help in bringing a permanent dog park to the neighborhood as an empty lot currently serving as an unofficial space for unleashed dogs nears development.

More than 400 people have signed an online petition asking Allen to join the fight to bring a permanent dog park to NoMa. He plans to meet with these residents at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at the makeshift dog park.

NoMa dog owners “have teamed up in the name of their puppies to ask that land for a real dog park be set aside,” said Cari Shane, a dog owner and organizer of the Dogs of NoMa Facebook group. “This friendly group of dog-lovers wants to make sure that the $50 million set aside for parks and art includes land for an official dog park.”

For the past year, NoMa residents have been taking their dogs to the empty lot at 200 K St. NE, beside the Loree Grand apartment building. However, with construction set to start soon on Union Place, a 14-story residential building on that lot, residents are hoping to build a permanent dog park in the area.

Locals note that despite an influx of new people and pets to the neighborhood, NoMa still doesn’t have a park where dogs can run unleashed. In 2013, the D.C. Council established a $50 million fund for parks and art in NoMa. The group of dog owners hopes that Allen and the NoMa Business Improvement District can use this fund to partially pay for a permanent dog park near the residential centers of the neighborhood.

A representative for Allen confirmed today that the councilman does have a community meeting planned for that day. But more information about his stance on the park was not immediately available.

Photo via Facebook/Dogs of NoMa


Morning Rundown

NoMa public art

New Seafood Restaurant for Southwest — Requin, a high-end seafood restaurant from chefs Mike Isabella and Jennifer Carroll, is slated to open in The Wharf development in 2017. [Washington Post]

H Street Corridor Pie Shop Plans Expansion — Dangerously Delicious Pies is planning to build a bar and rooftop deck in its H Street NE location. [Washington Business Journal]

Large Residential Project Proposed for NoMa — A proposed residential project would bring 1,140 apartments and condos to an almost 7-acre site west of North Capitol Street. [UrbanTurf]

‘Zen Park’ for Northeast Capitol Hill? — A pocket park in northeast Capitol Hill soon might become an urban oasis of “tranquility, simplicity and balance,” a landscape architect told locals earlier this week. [Hill Now]


Site of proposed Events DC playground (Photo via Google Maps)Northeast Capitol Hill children might get a new playground if locals back a plan to transform an empty lot near Eliot-Hine Middle School.

Officials with Events DC, which manages the land at 20th and C streets NE, urged locals at a community meeting last night to support a playground on the property. Without neighborhood support, the D.C. events authority won’t go ahead with the project, the officials said.

“Events DC wants to build the playground for the community,” said Andrew Harrington, Events DC’s director of venue operations. “The community’s involvement is critical.”

Harrington and his colleagues at the meeting held by ANC 6A’s transportation and public space committee didn’t discuss possible features for the park. But Harrington said it would cost about $100,000, with support from KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization that helps construct playgrounds.

With or without the new park, Events DC plans to continue maintaining the nearby Oklahoma Avenue NE playground, which sits on land the organization manages. But the events authority won’t make significant investments in the playground and may demolish it to make way for future development.

“The current location of the current playground is right in that area where we can rebuild,” Harrington said. “Therefore, it’s sort of a high priority area for whatever is going to be there down the road.”

Locals at the meeting were generally supportive of the playground. But some of them expressed concern about car traffic near the park.

It wasn’t immediately clear when, or if, ANC 6A might endorse Events DC’s proposal.

Photo via Google Maps


Pocket park at North Carolina Avenue, 15th Street and Constitution Avenue NE (Photo via Google Maps)A pocket park in northeast Capitol Hill soon might become an urban oasis of “tranquility, simplicity and balance,” a landscape architect looking to redesign the area said last night.

Speaking at a community meeting, architect Adrienne McCray said she is working with the District on plans to create a “Zen park” between North Carolina Avenue, 15th Street and Constitution Avenue NE. The triangular space, which is owned by D.C., currently has about a half-dozen trees that are surrounded by grass.

McCray said the vision of a D.C. Zen park developed by her and her colleagues doesn’t include sand for raking designs, a common feature of Japanese Zen gardens. Rather, they are looking to create “ways of escaping from the urban hardscape and really finding that natural space,” she said.

“Doing a little bit of research, we realized that Zen is not really specific features that are placed into a park, but is really the experience that a space provides and how people are engaging in it and the meditative process that is provided within that area,” said McCray, a senior associate with landscape architecture firm Lee and Associates.

Plans for the Zen park include mounds, shrubs, pathways and benches that would surround the trees. The area also would have free Wi-Fi.

Locals at the meeting held by ANC 6A’s transportation and public space committee expressed concern about the health of the trees and the maintenance of the Zen park, if it comes to fruition.

Shahrokh Ghahramani, a D.C. Department of General Services project manager, said after the meeting that he and his colleagues will look into the residents’ worries.

“We have to evaluate,” he said.

If the District moves forward with the current plans for the space, the Zen park likely would be ready by November, Ghahramani said.

Photo via Google Maps


Virginia Avenue Dog Park (Photo via Google Maps)A dog park in Near Southeast will close for at least 2 1/2 years, beginning next week.

The Virginia Avenue Dog Park, near 10th and L streets SE, is within an area that CSX will block off to the public to facilitate the construction of the company’s train tunnel. CSX will install a fence around the area as early as Monday, the company announced yesterday.

The fence will run along Virginia Avenue SE between 8th and 9th streets SE, before heading south through the park. It will then go east on L Street SE between 10th and 11th streets SE and head north on 11th Street, until it reaches the Southeast Freeway.

“These restrictions are necessary to ensure the public’s safety while utilities located within the park’s boundaries are relocated, and to create a staging area to support that work,” CSX said in a statement.

The dog park takes up the northeastern corner of Virginia Avenue Park, which includes a community garden. The garden and the area of the park near 9th Street and Potomac Avenue SE will remain open to the public.

After construction is completed in about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years, the dog park will be restored, according to CSX.

Photo via Google Maps


The Lansburgh Dog Park in Southwest is getting more shade with the help of a local developer and a D.C. environmental organization.

The JBG Companies and Casey Trees, which seeks to increase the District’s tree canopy, have organized the planting of 10 trees today in the dog park at 1030 Delaware Ave. SW. Volunteers will help put the “teenage” trees in the ground until 1:30 p.m. as part of National Volunteer Week.

“We are a company that believes strongly in giving back to communities — as well as in the importance of sustainable and green practices,” JBG senior vice president Matthew Blocher said in a statement. “Our new corporate partnership with Casey Trees, and today’s tree-planting work, reflects both of these commitments, and we look forward to being a part of more good works.”

The 15,000-square-foot dog park opened in September.

Photos via Casey Trees, JBG Cares


(Updated at 2 p.m.) An empty lot that once was home to a Greyhound bus station might be a dog park by this summer.

The NoMa Business Improvement District is considering building a temporary dog park at the southeast corner of 1st and L streets NE, where the Storey Park residential and retail complex is set to open in 2017. NoMa currently does not have any parks where dogs can roam unleashed.

The BID was previously considering a dog run about two blocks north, on 1st Street NE between Patterson and N streets NE, as part of NoMa BID’s “Front Porch” project. The plan was to convert grass beds along 1st Street NE to “a gathering space with bistro seating, a bar and vending area, and a play area with porch swings, games and play equipment” by this summer, according to NoMa BID’s annual report for 2014.

Robin-Eve Jasper, the BID’s president, told the ANC 6C parks committee last night that the project was declined by the District Department of Transportation’s Urban Forestry Administration over concerns about potential damage to trees.

The BID now is moving ahead with bringing murals, seating and other elements of the Front Porch to the Storey Park development instead, Jasper said.

Storey Park will host the NoMa Summer Screen film series and other community events. The area will be ready by May 27, the date of the first NoMa Summer Screen movie, Japser said.

“We’re just going to try to make it huge fun,” she said.

2 Comment

As Capitol Hill residents ramp up advocacy for the creation of a park near RFK Stadium, Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen is urging locals to be patient and engage in the process.

Transforming parking lots north of the stadium into the Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park is a “long march,” Allen told Hill Now today. The councilman described “strong” support for the creation of the green space and said he’s considering introducing a related bill.

ANC 6B unanimously approved a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser last night, calling on her to commit funds to filling the 80-acre space with playing fields, bike trails, a farmers market pavilion and other outdoor amenities.

“It’s not nearly as easy as saying, ‘Let’s go build this thing,'” Allen said.

The city would need the cooperation of the federal government and Events D.C. to make the park a reality. The city leases the land for RFK from the National Park Service, and Events D.C. manages the stadium and its grounds.

Allen said he expects to meet with NPS late this month. The councilman said he’s already met with Events D.C. this year to discuss proposals to redevelop the RFK campus. That organization is expected to release a study this spring about updates to the area.

The councilman said he will work on organizing community meetings on RFK redevelopment after the report comes out and likely will consider legislation to help create the park. The bill may create a task force for the project, but Allen said he wasn’t sure yet.

Locals have expressed concern about pedestrian safety near the park and whether proposed designs for it are even possible to implement.

Allen said he appreciates the efforts of ANC 6B and Friends of Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park to build support for the park.

“I’m not going to be able to do this with a magic wand,” he said.

Photos via Facebook/Friends of Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park; Twitter/CM_CharlesAllen


Morning Rundown

Magnolia tree buds near Smithsonian Castle

Is the Streetcar Worth Saving? — The acting head of the District Department of Transportation told The Washington Post more about his plan to evaluate the safety, strategy and funding of the H Street streetcar project. At a D.C. Council hearing Friday, Leif Dormsjo left open the possibility of killing the entire project, as Hill Now was first to report. [Washington Post]

Stanton and Greene Opens Today — The restaurant replacing The Pour House opens today with a limited menu. The owners of Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, Beuchert’s Saloon and Wisdom collaborated on the restaurant. [Capitol Hill Corner]

Development Plans Near Nationals Park — Designs for construction at Half and N streets SE, just north of Nationals Park, show a 10-story building with residential units and possibly a hotel. [JDLand]

Park Repairs in Southwest — Condo and home owners’ associations are teaming up to get the District to upgrade Amidon Sidewalk Park at 4th and G streets SW. [The Southwester]


Capitol Hill residents are ratcheting up pressure on the D.C. government to bring playing fields, bike trails and a farmers market pavilion to parking lots near RFK Stadium.

Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park, which has been in the works since at least 2011, would bring the fields and other outdoor amenities to the parking lots north of RFK — if the District will fund them.

The development “could be a potential boon to Hill East,” ANC 6B chairwoman Kirsten Oldenburg wrote in a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. The commission’s planning committee approved that letter last night.

“The CRYSP vision is to turn environmentally unfriendly and wasteful surface parking lots into an active gathering space for youth and adults sports,” Oldenburg wrote.

Bob Coomber, a board member of Friends of Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park, said the park on federal land that the District now leases would fulfill a “great need” in the District: outdoor space for children.

“I have a very active almost 4-year-old and an ever-more-active 1-year-old who are going to need space to run around and play,” he said. “Frankly, they don’t have enough room right now.”

A representative for Bowser didn’t respond immediately to an inquiry. As councilwoman, the mayor endorsed a resolution in 2013 in support of the park. Charles Allen, Ward 6’s councilman, also has backed the project.

All ANC 6B commissioners are expected to vote on the letter at the group’s full board meeting March 10.

Photos via Facebook/Friends of Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park


Parks planned in NoMa (Image via NoMa Parks Foundation)

NoMa is growing fast but has no public parks — yet.

A website launched this week shows where parks are being planned in the neighborhood and how locals can engage in the process.

The NoMa Parks Foundation site shows green spaces envisioned, including Pepco Park — a two-acre plot of land owned by Pepco, north of New York Avenue, near the Metropolitan Branch Trail. That space could provide room for grilling, a garden or an amphitheater, the site says.

Designs for L Street Plaza are also shown. NPF says that space east of 1st and L streets NE could provide room for farmers markets and festivals.

The site was launched to involve NoMa residents in planning parks, according to NPF president Robin-Eve Jasper, who is also president of the NoMa Business Improvement District.

“We want the NoMa Parks Foundation and its initiatives to be as transparent as possible,” she said in a statement. “NoMa parks are going to be fantastic, and will embody the aspirations of the NoMa community for great spaces to gather, play and enjoy the great, urban outdoors.”

The site will be updated with information on community engagement sessions and park events, NPF said. The group was formed in 2012.

Image via NoMa Parks Foundation


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