What's Goin' On? Community Health & Greening in Far Northeast DC
Meridian Hill wins $50,000 grant
Following a successful social media campaign by Parks & People, Rock Creek Park, and the Rock Creek Conservancy, the National Trust for Historic Preservation Partners in Preservation program announced May 13 that Meridian Hill/ Malcolm X Park won $50,000 in grant funds to restore and help re-open the last closed part of the park. The grant review panel noted the passion and power of the case for this vital place, "the jewel of Washington's parks" and the 54th most visited urban park in the nation. Tens of thousands of votes poured into the contest for a portion of $1 million grant funds, with other big awards going to Dumbarton Oaks Park, the Carter Woodson Home, Congressional Cemetery, Living Classrooms boats, GALA Hispanic Theater, and other heritage sites across the DC region. Thanks to all those who stood up to show you care!
DC Emancipation Day tribute
On April 16, an unprecedented partnership of the National Park Service, DC Parks and Recreation, Parks & People, the DC green Corps, and over 100 volunteers paid tribute to the at least 8,428 men, women, and children buried under Walter Pierce Park with acreas of candle luminaria -- one for every five people in this long-gforgotten cemetery -- illuminating the night. The deeply moving first-ever commemoration helped promote the ongoing effort to preserve and honor the cemetery as the core of the comprehensive master plan now being developed for the park. Parks & People's archeologist is now completing ground-penetrating radar and magnetometry to document the most sensitive areas of the site and help inform the plans for its lasting protection. Volunteers assisting the candlelight tribute included numerous neighborhood children and dozens of teens from innercity Boston, who were grateful for the chance to be part of this affirmation of life and freedom on the day after
DC Green Corps expands
Thanks to funding from the US Forest Service, the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, the Meyer Foundation, the Bancroft Foundation, and others, Parks & People's fifth DC Green Corps cohort has just kicked off, with immediate impacts in mutiple parks and green spaces. has just made a new grant to help continue Parks & People's DC Green Corps job training program. The pilot phase of the program was funded by a stimulus grant administered by the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry Division, Northeast Area, in partnership with the DC Department of Transportation's Urban Forestry Administration. Well over half of the 126 graduates, who had previously struggled with employment, have obtained jobs and contracts. The Corps has transformed some of DC's largest parks, planted over 2000 trees, cleared five acres of invasive weeds, and opened a community nursery and greening center. The progam was featured in a Washington Post Style story about Ellie Walton, who is helping to develop Meridian Hill Pictures' new feature film about the Green Corps.
Community Harvest supports 60 gardens
Community Harvest, Parks & People's urban agriculture and greening program, has now provided grants and techinical assistance to more than 60 community gardens and greening projects across under-served areas of the city. The program has significantly boosted local food growing capacity, and it has helped many once forgotten green spaces become centers of new life for their communities.
Marvin Gaye Park Grows Stronger
Washington Parks & People, DC Parks and Recreation, and our partners are celebrating the 15th anniversary of our work to transform Marvin Gaye Park. This has become the largest community park revitalization in DC history, with over 65,000 volunteers helping to remove over 6 million pounds of trash and debris to open the way for a healthy, thriving green corridor Improvements include a new 1.6-mile trail, a restored stream channel, the Marvin Gaye Amphitheater, fitness course, Riverside Healthy Living Center, Marvin Gaye Community Greening Center, bike repair station, Play Garden, Planters grove, farm market, and the first new public playground in this neighborhood in 30 years. In addition to local and national coverage and accolades, including a cover feature in Parks and Recreation magazine, Marvin Gaye Park is the focus of a new study documenting the long-term health benefits of park and playground reclamation.
Event Space Available
Originally built to be the home of the Vice President, the historic 40-room Josephine Butler Parks Center offers a variety of packages and event spaces for all kinds of programs. Our grand home, facing the sunsets over Meridian Hill/ Malcolm X Park, has hosted hundreds of unique events over the past 14 years - from nonprofit and community events to weddings, celebrations, retreats, performances, classes, exhibitions, and conferences. Contact us today about holding your next event in this beautiful Renaissance-Revival mansion, or in our other facilities at the Riverside Center or greening sites.
About Parks & People
Washington Parks & People began 23 years ago with Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park, receiving the National Park Service's highest organizational award for leading the transformation of the single most violent park in the capital region into one of its safest. We lead greening initiatives across the city -- massive land reclamation, native reforestation, watershed restoration, public health and fitness programming, urban agriculture, and green job training -- to help revitalize once forgotten communities. Parks & People leads the Down By the Riverside Campaign at Marvin Gaye Park in the Watts Branch stream valley. Join the Parks & People Network or find out more about volunteering to help the parks today.
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Thank you to our Parks Center Partners.
We invite you to explore the programs and events at the Josephine Butler Parks Center, a multi-organization "greenhouse" for advancing green spaces and rebuilding communities.
Marvin Gaye Community Greening Center
Parks & People has opened DC's first community nursery, as a base of green job training, native environmental restoration, and sustainable urban agriculture. The facility has already helped plant thousands of native trees across the city.