Housing Complex

Chinatown Park Facelift to Get Started…In the Spring

The National Park Service has been planning to do something, sort of, with Reservation 72—otherwise known as Chinatown Park at 5th and I Streets NW—for about six years now. The Commission on Fine Arts signed off on the improvements back in 2004, after all. It's taken since then to secure permits and funding, and the Downtown Business Improvement District is now shooting to start work on April 1.

And even after all that time, it's unlikely that people hoping for more activity there, like a play structure, will be satisfied. All that's planned is what the BID's Ellen Jones calls "refurbishment of the bones of the park": repair of concrete paths and iron fences, replacement of benches and trash cans, and re-sodding. The improvements will cost $200,000, paid for by the Park Service, downtown property owners, and the District Department of Transportation.

"We are aware that the surrounding community has a lot of aspirations for what could happen in the park," Jones says. "What we're doing is creating a pallette in good repair for the community to continue conversations with the National Park Service going forward."

Which will take forever, of course, given the number of hoops any downtown park improvements have to jump through.

"The level of review is not commensurate with the size of the park," Jones said, with the barest twinge of exasperation.

  • dan maceda

    Forget the NPS they're not interested in doing anything for the community. There are two lots on 3rd st NW just south of the Mt Carmel Baptist Church owned by the city not earning any tax or other income. Victor Hoskins Deputy development Director has been unable to explain why one lot is used as surface parking for AIPAC and the other is just vacant. A suggestion to develop these as a playground in an area in need of a playground is simply ignored. The street is not a thru street as it runs from H to K and I st ends at 3rd street so low traffic execept on Sunday.

  • Caroline Armijo

    Dan, We were unaware of this land. We will definitely look into it.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    sigh....we need to take control of these parcels away from NPS. it's the only way to make these truly vibrant parts of the city.