by Katie MacFarlane
The latest plans for renovation and construction of Hearst Park and Pool were shared at a community meeting hosted by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Department of General Services (DGS) on April 5th.
— Jackie Stanley (@JackieDGS) April 6, 2018
Community members in attendance were invited to give feedback and ask questions about the design plans for the park renovation. The first phase, beginning this summer, includes extensive storm water remediation, re-grading of the soccer field, and playground improvements. Construction of the pool and tennis courts will not begin until early next year.
Current storm water runoff from the park was a concern expressed by several residents in attendance, and according to DPR and the landscape architect, the park renovations should improve the situation dramatically. The plan includes installation of five bio-filtration systems, which have been planned based on the topography of the park and will have both native plantings and storm drains. The plants are chosen based on their ability to absorb large amounts of water and assist with filtration, and they are also intended to create a butterfly habitat and attract migrating birds.
In addition to the storm water runoff remediation, DPR presented plans for many improvements to the park and soccer field that will be completed in 2018.
Hearst Park and Pool Renovation Phase I: Summer 2018
- Soccer field renovation to include re-grading, more porous soil, an irrigation system, and new sod on the playing field. This will be a regulation-size soccer field
- A walking trail around the perimeter of the park
- New playground equipment with climbing ropes
- Sails to provide shade in the playground area in the short term, and new trees to allow for more shade in the future
- Five bio-filtration areas
- Directional and educational signage
- Bicycle racks
The plan for lighting the walking path has not been finalized, as DPR is considering how it can provide requested path lighting to assure safety, particularly for children going to and from Hearst Elementary School, but also recognize concerns about intrusive lighting. The lighting being considered would be downward-directed and intended to light the path only, with the least effect possible on nearby residents.
The landscape plan includes preserving the heritage trees that are on the east and south sides of the soccer field. These will be protected by a fence during construction. The sledding hill will remain untouched by the park renovation.
On the west slope of the park, some trees will be impacted, and there has been an extensive inventory of every tree by an arborist. The trees which will be removed are in poor condition or are non-native species prone to disease. These will be replaced with native trees. The trees that line the streets on Idaho and Quebec Avenues and 37th Street will remain intact.
DPR stated that there will be additional meetings with the community prior to and during the park construction. The next community meeting will be held when the general contractor is on board. DPR will update ANC 3F at their upcoming Tuesday, April 17th meeting.
During the Q&A session in the meeting, there were questions and comments from many in attendance regarding the plans for the pool and tennis courts. DPR reviewed the overall plan and reiterated that the pool construction is in the FY2019 budget.
Some in attendance expressed concern with the potential for parking issues and noise from the pool, while others asked DPR to consider enlarging the pool and having one less tennis court, as there are many other public tennis courts available in the area.
DPR stated that the proposed pool is the standard size for DPR pools, a 6-lane, 25-meter length pool with an ADA compliant zero-entry area. The pool hours and policies are under the jurisdiction of the operations group, and the community will be able to provide input to them once the opening of the pool draws closer.
The presentation from the meeting, as well as many other documents and information are available to the public on the DPR web site, https://dgs.dc.gov/page/hearst-park-and-pool-improvement-project.