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Archived News

Here you can find out about Washington Parks and People's recent news, partnerships, events and community accomplishments.  For up to date information please see our home page.


Community Harvest Mini-Grants

2010 Grant Application Date has passed
Washington Parks & People is now accepting applications for the third round of Community Harvest Mini-Grants.  In this year's grants, we will give special consideration to projects with a focus on the health of the community served, as well as the promotion of youth involvement and butterfly habitat.

Please click here for application and more information.


North Columbia Heights Green

We have been continuously improving the design and advancement of the Green – as shown in the attachment with this message. With the assistance of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), we were able to move forward by revising the layout in order to better deal with the groundwater issue discovered by our geotechnical engineer. Revisions to the Site Plan and Stormwater Management Plans are moving forward toward fulfilling the permit requirements prior to construction. We appreciate your patience and support with the project and look forward to continuing making NCHG a sustainable Green for the entire community.


North Columbia Heights Green Illustrative Layout Plan


September 19th is World Parks Day
World Parks Day is an opportunity to celebrate how our community parks and green spaces save lives and communities. The day, promoted worldwide, is organized by Parks for Life (www.parksforlife.org), an international initiative created by the International Parks and Green Space Alliance (IUPGSA).

Parks for Life World Parks Day


There is a natural connection between safe green spaces and community health. 

Years ago, Marvin Gaye Park (MGP)was a hub of crime, drugs and abandonment that prevented any positive use of the park corridor.  But now, as a result of community action, volunteerism and revitalization, MGP boast a brand new state of the art playground, outdoor stage and multiple capital improvements.

When people feel free to go to their local park to walk, exercise, and play, not only can they improve their health and quality of life, but also better appreciate and advocate for how the natural world and green spaces are vital for the physical, environmental, and even financial health of our communities.

Come out to the newly transformed Marvin Gaye Park this coming Saturday, September 19 to celebrate your community and show just how important your park is!  Enjoy music, art, spoken word,  and free health and fitness programming of all kinds!


Oxon Run Community Alliance Expands

Parks & People is completing the first year of major community reclamation of Oxon Run Park, DC’s largest city park. WPP’s Oxon Run Community Alliance, composed of 20 partner organizations and led by Ward 8 community leaders Jackie Ward, Ab Jordan, and Maria Powell, along with WPP Trustee Brenda Richardson, has accomplished a great deal, dramatically transforming the hub of the park through landscape reclamation, programming, job training, and community visioning for a new future for the park and its people.


Parks & People Board Elects New Chair
Washington Parks & People's Board of Trustees has elected John Henderson as its new Chair.  John has been an advocate for parks for many years and played a major role in the transformation of the parks of Chicago.  He currently serves as the Research and Evaluation Manager at Prince George's County Department of Parks & Recreation.  Read John's bio and a statement about his new role here.

A Summer of Service
Washington Parks & People is joining forces with nonprofit organizations across the country in an answer to First Lady Michelle Obama's call for a Summer of Service.  We'll be posting volunteer opportunities and more information on our website soon.  You can find out more about the Summer of Service, including a video of the First Lady's call for service, at serve.gov.

Parks & People Secures Vacant Lot
Washington Parks & People has closed on property in North Columbia Heights.  The property, currently a vacant lot, will be transformed into community garden space in one of the densest neighborhoods in DC.  For more information on the space, see the article in the latest issue of the InTowner.  Interested in getting involved?  Send an email to info@washingtonparks.net for more information.

National Recreation and Park Association Launches Partnership with Parks & People
As part of its new focus on the urban parks movement, the national professional and citizen association for the parks and recreation field announced last month in a ceremony on Capitol Hill that it is entering a new multi-year partnership with the DC government and Washington Parks & People at Marvin Gaye Park, including a quarter-million-dollar donation of play equipment and a grant to underwrite documentation of the health impacts of our Heart & Soul program led by Parks & People’s new Assistant Director for Parks and Health, Autumn Saxton-Ross. NRPA will join with community, city, and federal leaders on August 20 to celebrate the new playground, the first new playground in Marvin Gaye Park in more than 30 years.

WPP Advances Riverside Center Improvements
With capital grants from the HSC Foundation, DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert, Deloitte, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Parks & People is completing Phase II renovations to its historic field headquarters east of the Anacostia River – the old nightclub where Marvin Gaye first performed professionally -- including new HVAC system and solid cherry floor in the Crystal Room, ADA improvements, new entry hall and additional accessible restroom, lighting, and new kitchen appliances and plumbing and electric.

Attorney General Holder Honors Parks & People Partnership

Last week on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, the highest law enforcement official in the land, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited Marvin Gaye Park to dedicate our King Nature Sanctuary and pay tribute to what our partnership has accomplished in using the park to restore justice to the wider community:
“Your work shows. Where there once had been an entrenched heroin market, there is now a community farmers’ market. Where young people once passed the time stealing cars, you’ve
created outdoor classrooms and two miles of breathtaking trail. In a place once strewn with trash, you planted over 2000 trees and plants. Where people once felt insecure and unsafe,
they now feel a sense of community and of peace. This is the sort of change that Dr. King envisioned, andhe understood that such change only happens when people are willing to work for it.”

The Root
Parks & People partnered with The Root in response to President-Elect Obama's call for a National Day of Service on January 19 with projects at Marvin Gaye Park, Walter Pierce Park, and our new site in North Columbia Heights.  See what Parks & People's Steve Coleman had to say about this event during an online chat with the Washington Post on January 14 and on NPR's "All Things Considered" on the day of the event.

Work on Green Jobs Draws National Attention
Parks & Recreation Magazine recently featured the work of Parks & People on green job training in a profile of Greening Coordinator Brian Rodgers.  The national publication issued by the National Recreation & Parks Association focused its back-page feature on the issue of green jobs, and a "new kind of green man".

TKF Releases Book on Green Space

The TKF Foundation, longtime supporters of Washington Parks & People, has released a new book, Open Spaces, Sacred Places.  The book "dramatically demonstrates how nature has the power to heal and unify in our increasingly frenetic 21st century world."  Contact Washington Parks & People or the TKF Foundation for purchasing information.

Cultural Tourism DC Celebrates Deanwood
Cultural Tourism DC, Councilmembers Yvette Alexander and Kwame Brown, the Deanwood Heritage Trail Working Group, Deanwood Heights Main Streets, and Washington Parks and People unveiled the newest Heritage Trail:  A Self-Reliant People: Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail on Saturday, April 4.  The trail travels through the neighborhood surrounding Marvin Gaye Park, telling its history and celebrating the heritage.

Cool Capital Inaugural Ball a Success
Cool Capital & the Sierra Club teamed up on Saturday, January 17 to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama.  The celebration of an era of change that's "Cool" included band Northeast Corridor and food from local caterer Lebanese Taverna.  Check out what the Washington Post had to say about the event.

Green Job Training
Parks & People joined with the Department of the Environment in launching the Mayor's Green Job Corps to train youth volunteers. The program uses parks to provide young people with gateways to 50 different career tracks that can advance their environment as a source of life for all.

Community Greening Mini-Grants
With support from the TKF Foundation, Washington Parks & People provided 17 community greening mini-grants, ranging from $200 to $2500, for neighborhood improvement projects across the city. 

WPP Readies Josephine Butler Parks Center Capital Improvements
WPP Treasurer John Theoharis is leading, with Architect Ian Tyndall and other advisors, the initiative to upgrade the Josephine Butler Parks Center to current code and transform it into a unique living museum and training center to celebrate and advance the city parks movement here. Building on earlier schematic designs done by Architect Brie Husted, we are now selecting an architectural team to design the improvements, which include an elevator, a sprinkler system, a new roof, and a range of green environmental upgrades including energy-efficient insulation, windows, heating and cooling, and lighting. We are seeking a combination of grants and discounted financing to pay for the improvements. Also, with major support from the TKF Foundation, Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, and US Forest Service, the Parks Center’s landscape will be transformed into a model of stormwater retention, native habitat (including a new butterfly garden), and outdoor learning and gathering places. 
WPP Announces Community Harvest Mini-Grants
Parks & People issued 18 mini-grants this year, ranging from $150 to $2500, for community greening across the city, including start-up funds for a new farm at Oxon Run Park, a peace garden at the Oak Hill Juvenile Detention Facility, a new farm in LeDroit Park, and a wide range of other schoolyard and community greening projects. In addition to the grants, all awardees are also receiving free seeds, tools, technical assistance, planning support, signage, and membership in Parks & People’s Community Harvest greening network.

WPP Completes Best Financial Year Ever
WPP’s year-end 2008 financial statements reflect strong growth in foundation and government support, continued positive cash flow, stable earned revenue, and expanding reserves and receivables to support the organization’s continuing expansion. Trustees have played a big part in this increase, with strong leadership and support from Treasurer John Theoharis and Parks & People’s expanding staff.

Marvin Gaye Trail Nears Completion

The Marvin Gaye Trail features 1.6 miles of beautiful new intermodal trail connecting the stream valley, including two new bridges that unify the entire park and trail for the first time. The 11-year, $3.5 million project led by the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) provided lighting along the trail's corridor, with curb extensions at nearly every crossing to enhance pedestrian safety.

Cool Capital Garners New Support
The Cool Capital Challenge, the model regional climate-saving initiative hosted by Parks & People, has won endorsements from governments, businesses, and communities across the Washington region. Click on www.coolcapital.org to reduce your carbon footprint and help make a better world for your children and grandchildren.

Parks & People Helps Launch Cool Capital 
Continuing a long tradition of forging grassroots hands-on impact on seemingly impossible environmental challenges, Parks & People has pledged 15 million pounds of carbon dioxide reductions to the new Cool Capital Challenge initiative. Cool Capital is seeking to reduce local carbon dioxide emissions by one billion pounds inone year as a dramatic model effort to demonstrate how one metropolitan region can come together to make a real impact on reversing the climate crisis. WPP is promoting this initiative to every volunteer, partner, and client that we serve. The Josephine Butler Parks Center is serving as a base of the campaign and as a model site for many of the simple ways that we can reduce the energy costs of our buildings, transportation, and lifestyles. To volunteer or join the campaign, contact us at info@washingtonparks.net.