City Paper Widget

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Carter Woodson Park to Get a Long-awaited Facelift

The contract has been awarded, the statue has been cast in bronze, and construction will start in June on a long-awaited improvement of Carter G. Woodson Park in Shaw. That's what the D.C.'s Department of General Services (DGS) and Office of Planning told Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E/Shaw at its regular monthly meeting on May 6.

"We are at the end stage of going through this review process," said Chris Shaheen of the Office of Planning.

Carter G Woodson Park now
The park is located on a triangle of land bordered by Rhode Island Avenue, 9th Street, and Q Street NW. The park was named after Woodson, an African-American writer and historian, in 2001, whose nearby home is a national historic landmark. Since the park was named in honor of Woodson, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to improve the park so that it adequately honors Woodson. Right now, the park is mostly a triangle of asphalt with no place to sit down (see photo).

Presentation about the park

A representative of DGS made a presentation to ANC6E and solicited the ANC's comment on their project and its design. The DGS representative said at the meeting that a copy of his slideshow was available on the website of D.C.'s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). I could not find it there. However, I did find a copy on the website of the National Park Service. View a copy of the presentation, with artist's renderings of what the park will look like, here.
(Artist's rendering from the presentation)

The park will feature a statue of Woodson (see photo), which has already been cast in bronze, the ANC heard. The statue will face Rhode Island Avenue when installed. The redesign of the park will take place around a mature tree on the site. All the details have not been finalized, but the plans include grass on much of the site which is now asphalt. Six benches are also in the plans.

Suggestions from ANC6E

The committee had two suggestions for the presenters. The first was that they refrain from using bricks on the site's walkway. Bricks often look good at the opening, but then are not maintained properly.

"I do not recommend putting bricks down anywhere because they never get repaired," said Commissioner Rachelle Nigro (district 04).

A member of the audience asked about a water source to maintain the green areas of the park. The presenter said irrigation had been discussed but "that's still in the works".

ANC6E Chair Alexander Padro (Commissioner for district 01) said he had been a participant in earlier stages of the planning and a water source had always been included.

"I am shocked to hear that there has been a change in terms of the water source," Padro said.

Carter G. Woodson Park is in Padro's ANC district.

Padro also remarked at the meeting of the long string of failed attempts to get a fully-funded park project. A 2007 blog post said design work was underway for the park, including a "larger-than-life" statue of Woodson. A 2008 post on the same blog said the renovation of the park had been put on hold due to "funding technicalities". Another blog said in 2009 that "2010 should bring us a redesigned triangle park honoring Dr. Carter G. Woodson".

ANC6E voted unanimously to endorse the plans for the park, provided that there is a water source in the park, and that paths or walkways are made of limestone or concrete materials.

According to Shaheen, the project will now go to a commemorative works committee, with representatives from nine D.C. agencies plus three citizen members. After that, it will go to the City Council for final formal action.

ANC6E videos its meetings and then posts them in their entirety on its Youtube channel. The section of the May 6 meeting dealing with this topic can be viewed by going to video 00046 here, starting at 29:45. The discussion continues on the next video, 00047, here.

No comments:

Post a Comment