concerns about the just-opened Florida Avenue Park

I am posting this message from a T Street NW resident:

From: Faye
Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2012 3:18 PM
Subject: New Fla Ave Park

My husband and I took our toddlers to the new Florida Avenue park yesterday afternoon. On a positive note, the park seems nicely-built, clean, and interesting to the kiddos. It was very windy so we were the only ones there with toddlers, but I felt compelled to mention a couple of observations:

1) There were about 10 teenagers in the “big kids“ area getting *very* rough physical with each, and that bothered us, because they seemed to be acting extremely tough to show off for one another (throwing each other down, ganging up on each other, etc., but nothing that seemed worthy of calling the police). Normally I`d say “kids are kids“ but a few years ago, near the now Shaw Library, my husband was ambushed with a punch-in-the-face by some similar-aged kids who had previously seemed to just be acting tough for each other (it would have likely been worse but my husband fought back), so we had some basis for concern that their bravado might spill over to the toddler area if someone wanted to show off/prove something to the others.

2) The 1st St. gate was wide open, and it is my understanding that should not be the case. (My understanding is that the planners wisely only installed a “exit only“ gate on that side (for everyday use) in an attempt to avoid the liquor store-frequenters from drinking alcohol, urinating, defecating, etc. in the park, which had always been the main problem of the park.)

I so badly want this park to be a clean, safe place for ALL children of the neighborhood, but I`m concerned that if these types of things happening on the first day indicate that it might already be in trouble. The only immediate solutions I can think of are to (1) call 911 if you see activity that seems illegal (the activity of the kids I saw rough-housing didn`t seem to rise to the level of “criminal,“ but it was rough enough to make me uneasy around my babies) and (2) have as many families as possible frequent the park as often as possible to have the peaceful, safe presence known and on watch. Also, if there is a way to close that 1st Street entrance (as was the plan), I`d ask that be done as well.

5 thoughts on “concerns about the just-opened Florida Avenue Park

  1. Anyone with questions, comments, or concerns should email the Friends of the Florida Avenue Park Committee at florida.avenue.park (at) Always call 911 first if you want or need MPD to respond to the Park.

    Jon Hasse
    Committe Co-Chair

  2. 2/27/2012

    I totally agree with your concerns. We cannot take anything for granted because there are groups of teenagers who are well versed in criminal activities. The renovated park was well planned, beautiful and is a positive addition to the neighborhood.

    On my way out after the groundbreaking on Saturday, I was concerned that the gate was left open. It was my understanding that the gate was opened to let the Mayor and his security team in and was supposed to locked immediately upon their leaving. The only way to control access to and from the park is to keep this gate locked, when not officially in use. Is the Park Police responsbile for monitoring this park and if no then who is?

    We cannot and should not allow this park to return to being a hang out for criminals, drunks, drug dealings, prostitution and who knows what else. I urge everyone to call 911 to report any and all lewd and indecent behavior.

  3. All thank you for your concerns. I neighbor text me this morning and informed me that the gate on First St was opened. I notified MPD and also contacted DPR about having the gate locked, we will coordinate those efforts. I also made a recommendation to DPR to put a sign on each of the play grounds with the ages the play sets are intended for, this way enforcement can be easier. The Friends of the Park is working with MPD to have roll call at the park as well as more MPD bike patrol presence there. I thank you for the feed back and helping us in maintaining the park.

  4. Too bad the park couldnt have included a dog park, if so, I would have went to that park every single day as would others with dogs which would have kept activity in the park all hours of the day.

    1. As long as you keep your dog on a leash you can walk through the park- just don’t walk through play equipment. There are 2 new dog parks in the neighborhood (5th and p) and in ledroit park.

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