City Paper Widget

Monday, June 16, 2014

CORRECTED: Stead Park Improvement Town Hall Meeting June 23

CORRECTION: The meeting will take place Monday, June 23, NOT April 23 as first published. Apologies for the error.

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will present plans for improvements in Stead Park (1625 P Street) at a open town hall meeting Monday, April June 23. The meeting will take place at 7pm in the Chastleton Ballroom (1701 16th Street NW). The public is invited and encouraged to bring questions and comments. DPR officials are expected to have information about the schedule of the improvements and possible road closures that may result.

At the regular monthly meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle June 11, Commissioner Leo Dwyer (district 07) announced the meeting. Dwyer said the ground-breaking on the project would take place "mid- to late July".

"It won't be done by summer," said Commissioner Kishan Putta (district 04), in an interview later. "It will be started, hopefully."

Now, the interior space of the park is pretty bare. When the project is done, the space will be lined with trees and benches.

"The goal of the project is to make the park more usable," Putta said. "A lot of people walk by the park and think 'Stead Park isn't for me'."

From the DPR web page about the project:
The new design will incorporate active play features comprised of artificial turf for a multi-use athletic field (supporting kickball, rugby, soccer, and baseball), a rubberized running track, seating, site lighting, a splash pad interactive water feature, a stage, landscaping to include shade trees, new fencing and gates, and bio-retention areas (a sustainable design package, reused rainwater, LEED standards and stormwater management solutions).
The improvements will all be exterior. This project does not include the 163-year-old building facing the P Street entrance to Stead Park.

There will be a new wall around the border of the park. While they are improving this wall, the plan now is to add two new gates will be added, on the east and west sides. The gates will open onto Church Street, which dead-ends onto the park on both sides. The gate on the west side will provide direct access to the retail district on 17th Street. 

The gate on the east side (i.e., facing 16th Street) might present some problems. The wall on this side of the park will have to be broken to accommodate construction vehicles. The street is residential, and some neighbors on this side of the park are against the installation of a permanent working gate.

"I don't think we have to build it, but I think it's a nice convenience," Putta said. "Logan Circle families would be encouraged to visit."

A compromise position may be emerging, where a gate will be installed, but it will only be open for special occasions. Both gates will be opened and closed electronically -- no need for a caretaker with keys.

"I don't think there is a need for people to shout on this," Putta said. "We're looking forward to a civilized meeting."

From the FAQ page of the Friends of Stead Park website:
What will happen to the adult sports teams once the field is renovated? Will they still be able to play on the field?

Yes. All of the sports that are currently played on the field can continue with the new design. For example, there will be room for two kickball games. We hope that an improved playing surface will make the field an option for other leagues, including youth sports. As always, field permitting goes through DPR.
Friends of Stead Park also has a Facebook page.

The landscape architect on the project is Studio 39 of Alexandria.

Full disclosure: Kishan Putta is running for an At-Large seat on the DC City Council. I have contributed to his campaign.

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