Area group seeks park adoption renewal

A community business group hopes to renew a contract with D.C. Parks and Recreation to continue the upkeep of a park in the West End neighborhood.

The Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, a nonprofit corporation made up of local property owners, is awaiting a letter of support from the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission to move forward with the contract renewal process. The current three-year contract ends April 7.

The corporation keeps Duke Ellington Park – located at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue, M and 21st streets – clean by paying for the daily emptying of trashcans, snow and leaf removal, and graffiti clean-up.

The group adopted the park three years ago before it was renamed for neighborhood native Duke Ellington. Since then, its members have transformed it with landscaping, general upkeep and homeless outreach.

“One of our main goals is to assist the city in cleaning things and making it a safer environment for people,” said Meradyth Moore, a spokeswoman for the BID.

“[The city has] plenty of things going on so we want to make sure that this is a place that residents and workers want to come. We really just want to help assist the city,” Moore said.

The contract can’t be renewed until the ANC formally supports the renewal with the letter. ANC chair Rebecca Coder said the ANC plans to take formal action at the group’s April meeting, and she has notified D.C. Parks and Recreation.

Coder told Leona Agouridis, executive director of the corporation, that residents were grateful for the work put into the park.

“It looks phenomenal… it’s really a tremendous job that you all have done,” Coder said.

Last year, West End Friends, a community organization working for the West End, submitted the request to name the park in honor of Ellington. Before it was officially renamed, there was a birthday celebration held for the musician in the park.

“The celebration was very improvised, very organic. We attracted a crowd large enough to stop traffic, though. People just came to hear students play Duke’s music,” said Dick Golden, chair of the Duke Ellington Park Committee of West End Friends and host of the GW Presents American Jazz satellite radio station.

West End Friends and the ANC are planning the second annual Duke Ellington Birthday Celebration, which will be held at the park from 4 to 7 p.m. April 29, Ellington’s birthday. Students from GW and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts are expected to perform at the event.

“April is actually jazz month in D.C.,” Golden said. “There is a month full of jazz celebrations which GW is participating in, all culminating in this Duke Ellington celebration.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.