This National Park Service land has been a big problem for at least as long as I have lived in Congress Heights. To be fair, the National Park Service has put in a good fight but they are always fighting a losing battle. Two years ago the National Park Service invested in new sod, new trees, new benches, and new picnic tables. Now the entire space looks like an old battlefield. A testament of the neighborhoods hopes for better and the forces that be constantly standing in the way of that. Because the 801 East shelter won't invest in a day-time waiting area for the region's homeless my neighbors can't have a public park we can use. Children are left to literally play in traffic because it is safer than our park!
The corner of MLK Ave SE and Malcolm X Ave SE is publicly funded horror story. No one can use this space for a park - at least not for any reasonable amount of time or purpose. Shepherd Park is the public drinking square, the de facto waiting room for the area's social service providers, and the central marketplace for neighborhood drug dealers. Even the grass (that was new a year ago) has thrown in the towel. Only muddy footprints and milk crates remain.
In my more frustrated moments I have imagined this "park" destroyed by fire and by blacktop. One enterprising and equally frustrated neighbor suggested an atom bomb.
That sounds about right. Now where can I get my hands on one?
P.S. This is the first time in many, many months I have been able to get close enough to this park to take pictures. Normally it is overrun with loiters and drinkers. No idea where they had all gone that day but the park was nearly desolate.