by Kim Farmer
The Friends of Forest Hills Playground and local community advocates have been working hard behind the scenes with DC’s Department of General Services (DGS) to get the area tidied up and safety concerns addressed. Users of the park may have noticed some work has been done recently. It is a slow process as some work depends on weather/time of year, labor availability and funding.
DGS advised that more cleanup will be done in the coming weeks and they need users (parents, caretakers, children, etc.) to stay clear of workers and their machines, particularly on the playground. When people get near them, they need to stop their work and that adds up to time (and more taxpayer $$!). Perhaps play ball up on the field if there is machinery on the playground and have children refrain from leveling leaf piles waiting for pick up (no easy task!).
Want to be part of the solution in maintaining the park? We need users’ help in “keeping sand in the sandbox” and picking up litter both on the playground and the wider park. Specifically:
1) Some parents and caretakers are not monitoring children who drag sand out of the sandbox and across the playground, not only making equipment and surfaces slippery, but also causing a lot of additional work for the city and community members who participate in clean-ups. Note that DPR is now refraining from installing new sandboxes and starting to remove them at some city playgrounds, so it is in users’ interests to contain the sand if a sandbox is to be kept at Forest Hills.
2) If you see trash anywhere (this includes fields and tennis courts, too) and broken toys on the playground, consider removing the debris yourself. Abandoned toys are not welcome on the playground for safety and liability reasons, and because they break within a week and are left for a good Samaritan to drag often large, heavy items to a dumpster. Please advise anyone bringing an old bike, push toy or other toy to the park that it needs to be donated or disposed of elsewhere. If trash is overflowing or you see something in need of maintenance, call 311 and make a report.
Our park, our responsibility!
Kim Farmer is a co-president of Friends of Forest Hills Playground, the 501(3)c nonprofit that looks after the playground and organizes cleanups, the annual summer concert series and Halloween party. Contact FOFHP at firstname.lastname@example.org.