Neighborhood Watch: Were Horseshoers Horsing Around in Congress Heights?
The Issue: What to do with Shepherd Park? The horseshoe pitching club there has moved on to greener pastures after being pressured by the community to remove horseshoe pits from the park between Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Malcolm X Avenue. The horseshoe pits and accompanying chess boards were originally installed by the club with the approval of the National Park Service, which manages the space, but were removed when residents said they were encouraging drunken carousing.
No More Pitching: Some community members think horseshoeing is contributing to the park's problems: The blog Congress Heights on the Rise says, "Despite their [the club's] best efforts, the horseshoe players do not attract children to the park – only adults. And most of those adults are drinking." Additionally, there are already pits set up in nearby Oxon Hill Park where the club could relocate.
Pitching Isn't the Problem: Many argue that public drinking is the real problem: In an informal online poll conducted by Southeast Socialite blog on what Congress Heights residents would like to see on MLK Avenue, 75 percent said what they really wanted was "10 less liquor stores."
Next Step: An advisory neighborhood commissioner, William Ellis, told City Desk: "What to do with the park is a big deal in the neighborhood. It has been the center of drug addicts and shootings in recent years, and the Park Service hasn't made the changes needed." He added that the ANC is reaching out to the community for suggestions on using the space; the park could include a community garden or Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.