Thursday, August 22, 2013

When turning a park into a parking lot sounds like a good idea

The "park" in 2009

Yesterday, I confessed (somewhat jokingly) that I hated the little National Park Service park at the corner of MLK and Malcolm X Avenues. 

I've had another night to sleep on it and I realized something.

I didn't go far enough. 


I went back and searched prior CHotR posts and realized I had been complaining about the tomfoolery and shenanigans in this park since I launched CHotR in 2008 (I first noticed the foolishness when I moved here in 2007). I know my neighbors had been complaining about that park long before that.

In 2011, the National Park Service "updated" the park, planted new grass and trees, installed new picnic tables and new playground equipment (I had complained loudly about the poor state of the old playground). However, without addressing the primary issue --- the lack of a waiting rooms for the nearby shelter (that services the regions homeless) and the group homes that saturate the immediate area we are right back where we started. We can never have a "community park" as long as it has to be the de-facto waiting room/hang out spot for the region.

So less than two years later and the "park" has once again disintegrated into public tomfoolery and shenanigans. The grass has been replaced by milk crates and some moron has managed to unravel large portions of the chain link fence from the new playground. I ask again, WHAT KIND OF IDIOT DOES THAT?!

The 'park' in 2013

I am sick and tired of complaining about this park and I am not the only one. I recall attending a meeting with Del. Holmes-Norton and she declared that little park, located at an intersection named after two civil rights leaders, to be the worst park in the NPS inventory. She was right!

In case you missed it here are some of the highlights of some of my complaints over the years:

Don't get me wrong, I have a handful (as in less than five) of decent experiences in that park but none of them were the norm. On a whole, I avoid that park as if my life depended on it (and sometimes it felt like it did).  I shake my head in frustration when I drive by, and when I give someone directions to my house I seriously consider if I want them to drive past that eyesore.

At this point I think it is time to admit defeat, bring in a steamroller and turn that greenish space into a blacktop. At this point I would take a nice quiet parking lot over a public nuisance.

I am not kidding.

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Anonymous said...

It's not just for the homeless it also operates as one of the worst open-air drug markets in the city!!!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone been in touch with NPS and DPR to set up a volunteer committee or a fundraiser for Park Police presence?

I agree that MLK and Malcolm X would be mortified with its current conditions.

What can be done? Seems like the community has to start the process before the city and federal gov't will help.

Okomfo Akosua Nwotwewaa said...

I feel the same way as I cringe giving people directions to my house and know they have to pass that ugly eyesore which is a welcome sign to "The Hood." I don't mind people needing a place to hang out since there are not many places like that in SE (e.g. community centers). But there has to be a balance and there's too much loitering and trash in a concentrated area. Has anyone else noticed the large barrels at the entrance to 295 off of Malcolm X? Are those barrels filled with toxic chemicals? Who do I complain to about this situation?