by Tim Regan October 17, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Stead Park Recreation Center

(Updated at 4:38 p.m.) A popular public park in Dupont could get a bigger, more modern recreation center.

Community organization Friends of Stead Park has asked the District to allocate funds in its 2018 fiscal year budget to upgrade and expand the recreation center inside of the park at 1625 P St. NW.

As it currently stands, the recreation center can only hold about 25 people at a time. The building is also not ADA accessible.

An expanded recreation center would give locals a larger indoor space for meetings and activities, said Kishan Putta, vice president of the Friends of Stead Park. The expansion would also allow for the creation of an affordable childcare program at Stead Park.

“The current space is very old and very small,” Putta told Borderstan. “It was actually deemed by the city to be unsafe for holding a toddler play program.”

So far, the idea has garnered the support of Dupont’s ANC 2B and Ward 2 D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans.

The organization’s next step would be to partner with the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation to solicit input from park users and community groups and work on possible designs.

If all goes according to plan, construction could tentatively begin as soon as winter or spring in 2018, Putta said.

by Borderstan.com June 24, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

What? You haven’t seen an outdoor movie yet this summer? Come out Tuesday, June 25, to Stead Park (1625 P Street NW) at 8:30 pm for the 1991 version of Father of the Bride with Steve Martin.

Screen on the Green at Stead Park. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Bring your blanket to the movies at Stead Park. (Luis Gomez Photos)

One of East Dupont’s best kept secrets is Stead’s huge acre of green space. If you haven’t been before, bring a blanket and enjoy a nice evening outside in the neighborhood — free of charge (and free popcorn).

Stead Park turns 60 this year and has a rich history in our neighborhood. Recently, Friends of Stead Park has been working with the community and the DC government to transform the underused acre playing field to include:

  • A running track along the perimeter
  • Trees and benches (no shade/seating currently)
  • A stage for concerts/shows/films
  • A kids splash park for hot days
  • A smooth, even turf (currently very bumpy and patchy)
  • Enough space to continue hosting two kickball games at a time and volleyball and other leagues.

The Friends were successful in securing the funding to start renovations this year and are looking for a few more thoughtful community members to help guide the transformation of the park into an even greater community resource.

Here’s how you can help:

The film event is sponsored by Lindsay Reishman Real Estate and Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets.

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by Borderstan.com May 3, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

"Stead"

Stead Park Field on the 1600 block of P Street NW. (Borderstan)

Support is growing for the city to start upgrading Stead Park’s field in fiscal year 2014 instead of 2015, as now proposed.

In the past week, area residents submitted more than six pages of comments to the  DC Council Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs, which met Monday. Many expressed urgency for the $1.6 million project — especially for area children. One neighborhood dad wrote:

“The Stead playground has been getting increasingly crowded over the last year. So much so that many toddlers spend their time as wall flowers, afraid to be trampled by parents or bigger kids… My 1.5 year old already does his best to escape from me and play in traffic. Please accelerate the timeline by a year so we can give him a green and safe place to play, before we (and our tax payments) have to move out to the suburbs in search of green space.”

He and other residents say that a safer and more multipurpose field is necessary as soon as possible so that children can safely use the field and relieve the congestion at the popular playground, which was last renovated in 2007.

At a DC Council hearing Monday, a neighborhood mom Kari Cunningham testified, “As a daily user of the crowded playground with my daughter, I have met many families from Columbia Heights, U Street, Mount Pleasant, and Adams Morgan — in addition to Logan Circle and Shaw — who all travel to use Stead Park’s wonderful playground,” but wish the large field was more community-friendly so older kids could have the option of playing and running there, especially when the playground is too full.

Stead’s one-acre field “is a rare expanse of green space in our developed, built-up part of the city… the whole community would love to have usable options in the field that they do not have today,” Cunningham told Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), chair of the Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs.

Martin Espinoza, founder of Stonewall Kickball, also testified and said that, “With renovations we could envision so many more groups playing within the space. Especially more youth sports, since the space is not safe or inviting for these groups to use during or after school.”

ANC 2B-04 Commissioner Kishan Putta, who organized the testimonies for Friends of Stead Park, said that after their testimony, Barry then said, “I am supportive, I just have to find a way to move the money from 2015 to 2014.”

The Friends of Stead Park are advocating that the funding be split over two years while the project moves in phases, with the goal of not interfering with regular warm weather sports uses.

The project is time-sensitive, other residents said in written comments, because there has been a “baby boom” in the area and many young families will soon be forced to consider moving away if there is not enough space for their children to play.

“We are not asking for a suburb-style square mile of fields and facilities,” one mother wrote, “but all little kids deserve to have some good neighborhood options for them. And if the only nearby option is always packed and the only acre of green space is not community-friendly, then, for our children’s sake, we may have to consider (gulp) leaving the neighborhood we love so dearly.”

The field is full of holes and has no seating or shade and doesn’t drain rain well, she wrote, but the new plans “would address the needs of the community and make productive a space that has been decidedly unproductive for too long.”

Putta said that more written comments are coming in daily. He said that the multipurpose field proposal is very popular because it would include a jogging/walking track around the perimeter, “for those who hate dodging traffic and lights on their jogs,” shade-giving trees and benches, puddle-proof turf (meaning fewer game cancellations), a splash park and a stage/pavilion for films and concerts.

“These plans are not overly costly,” he said, “however they will provide incalculable benefits to the growing community. Families are growing frustrated with the lack of space and options for them. They came to our public meetings, they have submitted comments for your consideration, and they are paying attention. Beginning the project this year will give them confidence that their children will have adequate space and opportunities within the next year or two and faith that the city wants to support their families and keep them here.”

The renovation of the park continues gathering support as Putta received an email from Councilmenber Jim Graham saying, “I will do what I can.” Jesus Aguirre, the director of Dept of Parks and Recreation said on the Kojo Nnamdi Show after a caller asked about Stead Park: “We’re looking at creative ways to try to accelerate that implementation,” and “we are working with a very active Friends group and community.”

The budget gets finalized later this month and supporters are asking the community to email their requests to their Councilmembers — and/or to [email protected] to be forwarded on (please include your approximate address and why you feel the field upgrades should begin this year).

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by Borderstan.com April 25, 2013 at 11:00 am 1 Comment

"Stead"

Rendering of the proposed Stead Park redesign. (Courtesy of Friends of Stead Park)

This Monday, April 29, supporters of the Stead Park upgrade will testify before the DC Council Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs in support of an advanced timeframe for park improvements.

As things stand with the current proposal, funding for these upgrades will not come until fiscal year 2015 and the earliest that any construction will begin is fall 2014.

As a member of Friends of Stead Park (FOSP) and a commissioner of ANC 2B, Kishan Putta is organizing the testimony following the securement of $1.6 million in funding for the project from the Council and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DCDPR).

This action from FOSP comes on the heels of their having spoken with Mayor Vincent Gray at the public Ward 2 Budget Town Hall. It was at this Town Hall that the mayor expressed an interest in speeding up the timeframe of the upgrades to the park after hearing of both the community’s excitement for the upgrades and the community funding that will go with city funding.

FOSP was bolstered by the mayor’s reaction and, according to Putta,”The April 29 meeting will be an opportunity for members of the community to speak before the committee about why the timeframe for the Stead Park upgrades should be advanced.

Upgrade Plans

The upgrade plans for Stead Park include shade trees and benches along the perimeter of the playing field, a jogging/walking track, a performance stage, a miniature water park for children, and maintenance of the playing field that will continue to accommodate two simultaneous games.

Members of the community agreed upon these plans after two years of discussion and consensus building, which included a series of community meetings with the FOSP Board of Directors. The new plans are designed to make the park more usable and better suited for the changing community.

Involvement

Anyone interested in supporting an advanced timeframe for park improvements may send short letters of support kishan.putta[AT]dupontcircleanc.net before this Sunday, April 28. Community members are also invited to join the hearing at 10 am on Monday, April 29, before the Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs at the Wilson Building, Room 412.

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by Borderstan.com January 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

"Stead Park"

Rendering of proposed Stead Park redesign. (Courtesy of Friends of Stead Park)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

Friends of Stead Park, the organization that works with a private trust and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation to run the Logan/Dupont park, will present proposed renovation design plans to ANC 2B/Dupont on Wednesday, January 9, at the monthly meeting. Stead Park is in 2B on the 1600 block of P Street NW.

The proposed design (pictured above) includes some bench seating along the south wall, a grassy berm at the southwest corner and a large field to allow for two simultaneous kickball games.

Since October, Friends of Stead Park has worked with community members on proposed renovations to the 1.5-acre facility at 1625 P Street NW. According to Jeff Garigliano, treasurer of Friends of Stead Park, the space is in need of some “desperate love.”

On Sunday, December 2, Friends of Stead Park presented the revised renovation plans (updated to include community input) back to the community. Now, the organization is taking those revised plans to ANC 2B for the next step in the process.

Wednesday’s ANC 2BF meeting will take place at 7 pm at the Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW.

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by Borderstan.com November 29, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,027 2 Comments

"Stead Park"

Proposed rendering of the Stead Park redesign. (Courtesy Friends of Stead Park)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

On Sunday, December 2, Friends of Stead Park will present updated plans to the park’s redesign project to members of the community at 10 am at the DC JCC (1529 16th Street NW).

In October, the Friends of Stead Park held a community meeting about proposed changes to the design of the field at Stead Park. Prior to the first meeting, a petition opposing the design was circulated by a local adult sports league that frequently uses the space. However, after the meeting, residents, board members and local officials worked together with Friends of Stead Park to build a plan that aims to address all of the aired concerns.

“The feedback we received was largely positive, but many people felt that we’d taken too much space away from the athletic field,” said Jeff Garigliano, a board member on the Friends of Stead Park committee.

Since October’s meeting, the board made a few tweaks to the proposed design, including, reducing some bench seating along the south wall and a grassy berm at the southwest corner.

“That adds valuable space back to the playing field, making it big enough to accommodate two simultaneous kickball games (a specific request from the adult sports leagues who use the park),” said Garigliano. “Yet the design still includes benches, shade trees, the walking track and the spray ground.

This weekend’s meeting allows community members to see the design changes and provide feedback on the updated plans. After the meeting, Friends of Stead Park will incorporate any comments and feedback from Sunday’s meeting into a final design, which will be presented to the ANC in early January for approval.

All are welcome to Sunday’s meeting.

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by Borderstan.com October 8, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,438 1 Comment

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

"Stead Park"

Friends of Stead Park Board members met with the community to discuss design changes to the park. (Rachel Nania)

On Wednesday, October 3, Friends of Stead Park Board of Directors met with community members at the DC Jewish Community Center to discuss a proposed $1.5 million renovation to the park. Landscape architects from Studio 39 made the presentation.

Friends of Stead Park is an organization that works with a private trust and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DCDCP) to govern and maintain the park. With the proposed changes (which includes a pavilion, linear bench seating, a rain garden, a new fence, a water park feature and a synthetic playing field), the city would pay for the cost of the renovation and the park’s private trust would pay for the maintenance; currently, $150,000 to $175,000 is spent from the trust each year.

According to Jeff Garigliano, treasurer of Friends of Stead Park, DCDPR has the final say in the park’s changes.

Community Reaction

The topic on Stead Park’s design has been a source of controversy with community members. Martin Espinoza, co-founder of Stonewall Sports and ANC 2B-04 candidate, started a petition in light of the proposed re-design changes, called “Save Stead Park.” According to Espinoza’s petition, the proposed plans will reduce the active field space at Stead Park by 25 percent, which could jeopardize current community leagues such as soccer, volleyball and kickball.

Espinoza and the petition’s supporters were present at Wednesday night’s meeting. Garigliano and Sarah Rabin Spira, secretary for Friends of Stead Park, offered to work with Espinoza and members of the adults sports leagues on the exact dimensions of the playing space.

Victor Wexler, ANC commissioner for 2B-05, which includes Stead Park, applauded the sports teams that use the field, but reminded them that the park should also cater to the area’s changing demographics (more families and more children).

“It’s important to remember that we are not losing the park to non-recreational use,” said Wexler. “It’s being made in to other types of recreational use.”

"Stead Park"

Illustration of  proposed changes to Stead Park. (Courtesy Friends of Stead Park)

Will Stevens (ANC 2B-08) and chairman of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, was also present at the meeting along with Commissioners Jack Jacobson (ANC 2B-04) and Ramon Estrada (ANC 2B-09).

Overall, the meeting’s attendees seemed receptive to the proposed design changes. One woman thanked the designers and the Friends of Stead Park for including the idea of a water park feature. “If I want to take my kid to a water park playground, I have to drive all the way to Anacostia,” she explained.

Another attendee wanted to see fewer changes to the design of the park. “Let’s aim to keep the park the same and just make some improvements,” he said. “I don’t think we should fix what isn’t broken.”

Information and Next Steps

Spira told the meeting’s attendees that Friends of Stead Park wants to hear from the community on the proposed changes. The group is aware of the lack of its information available to the public, but encouraged anyone with questions or concerns to email Friendsofsteadpark{AT}gmail.com.

The next steps in the renovation process are to make adjustments to the proposed designs and present the plans to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B.

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by Borderstan.com October 2, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,165 1 Comment

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"Stead Park"

The proposed changes to Stead Park will be presented to the public on Wednesday night. (Courtesy Friends of Stead Park)

A meeting on the recently proposed design changes to Stead Park will take place on Wednesday, October 3 at 7 pm at the DC Jewish Community Center (16th and Q Streets NW). The Stead Park Recreation Center and field are a 1.5-acre facility located at 1625 P Street NW.

The topic on Stead Park’s design has been a source of controversy with community members.

For the past nine months, Friends of Stead Park, an organization that works with a private trust and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation to run the park, worked to upgrade the field at Stead Park. According to Jeff Garigliano, treasurer of Friends of Stead Park, the space is in need of some “desperate love.”

“The grass is patchy at best and the fence (16-feet high, falling over in spots) cuts the field off from the rest of the park,” said Garigliano in a guest post for Borderstan. “The site looks like a minimum security prison. Because of these factors, it usually sits empty on weekdays. Adult sports leagues use the field many weeknights and weekends, but there’s not much there for anyone else — no shade, no place to sit.”

However, not all members of the community are as open to the change. Martin Espinoza, co-founder of Stonewall Sports and ANC 2B-04 candidate, started a petition in light of the proposed re-design changes, called “Save Stead Park.” According to Espinoza’s petition, the proposed plans will reduce the active field space at Stead Park by 25 percent, which could jeopardize current community leagues such as soccer, volleyball and kickball.

"Stead Park"

Stead Park: The recreation field is to the north. (Luis Gomez Photos)

According to Garigliano, Friends of Stead Park spent several months reaching out to neighborhood groups (parent listservs, the PTA organizations at Ross and Garrison, day care centers, 17th Street NW businesses and leaders of the sports leagues) to gauge the wants and needs of local residents for the space.

Wednesday night’s meeting is a chance for community members to come and see the result of the integrated plan, and for residents to add further suggestions.

And for those who can’t make it to the meeting, Garigliano openly invites questions and comments. He can be reached at jeff.garigliano[AT]gmail.com.

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