Chinatown Park Improvements Begin

Hat tip to Brian and Tony who have brought to my attention that Chinatown Park at 5th & Mass has been enclosed entirely with fencing. My first thought was the improvements I reported on in 2009 are finally set to happen.

Plans for Reservation 72 issued by Downtown BID in Sept 2009

That is indeed the case, as confirmed by the Downtown BID’s recent newsletter.

The DowntownDC BID, in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), is revitalizing US Reservation 72, better known as Chinatown Park. The project includes replacing the interior sidewalk, improving the irrigation system, and installing new sod, trash bins, and benches. In addition, NPS will plant new trees in the park this fall. (Yea, we love trees!) Construction is slated to begin next month and conclude by early June.

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Downtown DC Playground Group meeting tonight

Wednesday, March 14th, the Downtown DC Kids (website | facebook) playground group will meet at Calvary Baptist Church at 6 pm. The agenda includes updates, organizational planning for creating a new friends group and planning of their second pop-up play event on Saturday, April 21st at an outdoor location. Downtown DC Kids need lots of volunteers to help make the event a huge success, which they hope will draw a lot of attention from our public officials.

Children are welcome to play in the gym while during the meeting.

WHAT: Downtown DC Playground Group Meeting

WHEN: Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 at 6 pm

WHERE: Calvary Baptist Church, Shallenberger Hall/Gym

Playing Ground

For more information on the organizations playgrounds initiative read the op-ed that Downtown DC Kids founders Caroline Armijo and Danielle Pierce contributed to Greater Greater Washington yesterday.

Image Credit: Playground image is from flickr user xcode

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Park Cleanup on Saturday

The Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District (MVTCID) is hosting a park cleanup on Saturday, April 9th, from 10:00-12:00 in Triangle Park (2nd/Mass/H NW). Come by to help weed, prune, sweep, and rake the largest park in our community.

Two years ago the MVTCID and Casey Trees organized a tree planting event and added 34 new trees to the park (new trees not pictured above – I don’t have a recent aerial).

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Revisiting ideas for 4th & L

Back in February this blog wondered aloud if a dog park could be the answer to transform the gravel lot at 4th & L from blight into a contributing use. Unfortunately shortly thereafter investigation of the deeds for the land by MVSNA officers showed that the land appeared to be under title to Bible Way church rather than the District.

While nothing has fundamentally changed on that front, the “Before and After” Community Garden concept rendering created by John Thompson is too slick not to share.

This 4th & L lot would be a great site to put temporary urbanism to practice. Rather than allow the eyesore to persist indefinitely it would be outstanding if a temporary use, such as a community garden, could be identified for the next 5+ years. Then once K Street blossoms and the streetcar arrives the lot could be developed.

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Downtown Park and Open Space User Survey

The DC Office of Planning has a new online survey (link) regarding Downtown Parks and Open Spaces:

The DC Office of Planning is beginning a study to examine access, availability, and programming for park and open spaces in DC’s Downtown and the emerging high density neighborhoods north of Massachusetts Avenue. The study will focus on what improvements are needed to better serve Downtown’s workers and growing residential population. As part of this examination, we will look at both how we can better use existing parks such as Franklin Square and the many triangle parks, such as Gompers Park, but also plan for new parks and open spaces in areas where they are needed.

By completing this survey you will help us better understand how to plan for these parks to better serve area residents and workers. If you would like more information on this effort, please contact Thor Nelson at (202) 741-5241 or by email at or Emily Yates at (202) 442-7704 or by email at

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Plans for Chinatown Park

The following is from a Downtown BID document created on 9/10/2009.

Rendering from Downtown BID; Click to enlarge

Reservation 72 (Chinatown Park)

  • Owned by National Park Service
  • Bounded by 5th, 6th, Eye and Massachusetts Avenue, NW.
  • Refurbishment plans begun by Yeni Wong and Chinatown 6-8 years ago.
  • Downtown BID asked to intercede.
  • Accomplishments:
    • Completed design plan
    • Developed project budget ($139,000)
    • Identified $96,000 in funding
    • Gained approvals of:
      • National Capital Planning Commission
      • U.S. Commission on Fine Arts
    • Coordinated with District Department of Transportation to complete streetscape surrounding the park (2 of 3 sides already are in Downtown BID area streetscape plan)
  • Remaining tasks:
    • Raise remaining $43,000
    • Secure approval of National Park Service for sidewalk paving materials
    • Continue to urge DDOT to complete all 3 sides
  • City’s Chinatown Cultural Development Strategy calls for even greater improvements. The current project should be regarded as Phase One.
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Bundy Lot meeting Thursday night

An organized group of our Shaw neighbors to the north will be meeting Thursday night with the Office of Property Management to discuss a vacant lot at 400 P Street. Residents support a dog park while the government believes the Safe Shores organization moving into the building needs parking.

See flyer below for meeting details.

While I’m an outsider on this issue and unavailable to attend to support, I do hope a compromise can be reached between the two parties. Safe Shores shouldn’t be pushed to park on the street if promised parking by the district government. However, I’ve read compelling arguments that suggest the organization does not need a massive surface lot with 100 parking spots. Hopefully a balance can be achieved.

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Linked up: Parks, Billboards, Doormen and RPP

Shaw – A Vacant lot on 10th Street, NW between L and M Streets is planned to be transformed into a park [Renew Shaw and Greater Greater Washington]

Mount Vernon Square – Cary Silverman discusses the need for DCRA to crack down on illegal billboards [The Other 35 Percent and Lifein MVSNA]

Yale Lofts – District Chatter reports Yale Lofts is considering a video doorman.

Ward 6 – Councilmember Tommy Wells’ blog introduces the Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act and engages in some Q & A.

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Seasonal flower bed at 2nd and Mass Park

The improvements to DPR Park 1089 at the confluence of 2nd, Mass and H Street continue this month. In late March Casey Trees, with the aid of 68 volunteers, planted 34 new trees at the park.

This month the seasonal flower bed at the western edge of the landscaping will be planted. Last week a volunteer roto-tilled the grass under and the CID hopes to have red salvia planted this Friday if the clean team can remove all the remaining roots out of the soil.

The next phase of improvements, which include transferring lighting, benches, bike racks and trash cans from the Art Walk will not occur until the City Center DC project begins. The Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, Neil Albert, remains optimistic the City Center development will start in the fall after the Washington Kastles tennis season is complete.

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