Redesign of Two Potomac Avenue Triangle Parks Advances to ANC6B in February

The birds-eye view locates the two triangular parks on Potomac Avenue, SE – click to enlarge

Final design for reservation 253 between Potomac Avenue and K Streets. The plan includes a water feature which may depend on the unknown cost of getting water to the park. The pollinator garden activates and beautifies the space and allows partnering with other agencies for maintenance. Landscape architect Brent Cisco says there is a series of pollinator gardens throughout the city, which are typically well maintained at little cost.

Final design for reservation 254 between Potomac Avenue and I Streets. The plan includes a fenced playground. The plans for both parks include chess/checkers tables, a hardscape plaza, and outdoor fitness areas and landscape buffers. The current tree canopy in both parks would be preserved.

Redesign of Two Potomac Avenue Triangle Parks Advances to ANC6B in February

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, stakeholders in the plans to redesign two triangle parks on Potomac Avenue SE met to review the Department of Recreation’s final designs before they go to ANC6B for review next month.

After former ANC6B07 Commissioner Daniel Chao laid the ground work for addressing the problematic parks’ issues (nearby residents cited them as locations for illicit activity, including drug dealing) his successor, Commissioner Aimee Grace, became the driving force behind redesigning the parks.  She described her efforts to get city funding for the project as taking “a back channel approach”, appealing directly to Councilmembers Allen and Cheh for help.  Allen replied that he would help if the community was on board.  The result was an outpouring of community support for transforming the parks to safe neighborhood gathering places.  The effort won Allen’s support and he was subsequently successful in adding $500,000 to the FY 2018 DC Budget for the two redesigns.

Brent Cisco, landscape architect for the Department of Public and Recreation, unveiled the final versions of his designs for the parks at Tuesday’s meeting, stressing that the goal was to make them places for people to come together in all four seasons.

Residents wanted some tweaking of the design for the Reservation 254 park, worried that the design presented wouldn’t rebrand the park and the neighborhood enough – referring to the illicit activity associated with the park.  Some of the suggestions were to add picnic tables, art work, or boulders for children to climb on.  Grace and Cisco agreed to circulate modifications by email to reach an agreement before going before the ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee in early February.

CM Allen, who attended the meeting, reiterated that the whole idea behind redoing the parks is to bring people together.  He recalled that a previous attempt by Mayor Fenty spent money on the parks without seeking stakeholder input.  “You did that”, he told Grace, “and that provides a feeling of ownership and the likelihood that people will use it because they were brought into the process.”  Allen said that as we go to a final decision, he wants to see a cost estimate by the end of April in case he has to consider seeking additional funding and/or bringing additional partners into the process.

The designs will come up before ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee on February 6, and their monthly meeting, 7:00pm, at St. Coletta’s of Greater Washington.

They will then go to the full ANC6B meeting on February 13, at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

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