Monday, August 25, 2008

Diamond Teague Park Makes Headway in Southeast



Using plans approved by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) in October of last year, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development's proposal for a new public park along the Anacostia River will finally go before the NCPC once again for permit approval on Thursday, September 4th. If all goes according to plan (cue maniacal laughter), Diamond Teague Park will be completed by fall 2009.

Located at the terminating intersection of First Street and Potomac Avenue SE, Teague Park looks to be the much needed community icing on the commercial cake that the mayor's office has baked - first with Nationals Park and soon to be followed by the Capitol Riverfront. The proposal stresses the importance of using the park to attract pedestrian foot traffic as it moves to and fro from the stadium with amenities that include a water taxi service, several public piers for watercraft, a thirty foot wide, floating boardwalk and a lead-by-example, eco-friendly garden space. All of this will occupy a third of an acre at a cost of $16 million.

Of course, what would a public works project in this day and age be without giving into green fever? The proposal calls for the park to be a “green oasis” and refers to the current condition of the Anacostia River as a set of “diverse environmental restoration challenges.” Buzzwords and understatements aside, those restoration challenges should provide an invaluable showcase for the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC), which is currently headquartered in the former Capitol Pumphouse that adjoins the park’s proposed location. With a staff comprised almost entirely of neighborhood youth, they plan on using the park as soapbox for community issues that dovetail with their environmental mandate – namely fighting the further pollution of the river and trash accumulation.

On the aesthetic side, the Landscape Architecture Bureau, the project’s lead designers, couldn’t have found a better setting to show off their oh-so-tasteful plans for the waterfront vista. Teague Park is to occupy the prime real estate next to the Riverwalk and, as such, will be in plain view from the ballpark’s upper deck and so-called “Grand Stairs.” From this vantage point, the intent is that Teague Park will serve as the centerpiece of the landscape - providing not only a splash of flora and fauna, but some much needed visual continuity between the Riverwalk and several soon-to-be restored DC Water and Sewer Authority buildings that straddle the site. The park is to be one of four currently outlined under the Capitol Riverfront BID.
Presumably, the ODMPED’s proposal faces little in the way of opposition (unless the Army Corps task force charged with investigating the site stumbles upon more of its own unexploded munitions...again), as it's faced with no competing proposals and relatively little criticism, given its community-oriented mandate and ties to the ECC. All that remains to be acquired before ground can be broken is the requisite National Parks Service permit, whose jurisdiction falls over the portions of river bottom encroached upon by the project.

Positive neighborhood developments aside, the name of the park should serve as a grim reminder of Anacostia’s prospects only a few years ago. The park is named in memory of 19 year-old Diamond Teague, a Southeast resident and ECC member himself, who was gunned down on his front porch by two unknown assailants in 2003. The investigation into his murder remains free of suspects and unsolved to this day. A memorial baring his likeness will be completed in time for the park’s grand opening.

2 comments:

Elliott on Aug 26, 2008, 2:26:00 PM said...

If you build it they will come. Diamonds are forever!!!!!! For eva, for eva-- fo eva eva?

Colin on Aug 26, 2008, 2:34:00 PM said...

Indeed.

 

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