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Chuck Brown Park coming to Northeast DC in August

One of the proposed designs for Chuck Brown Park; both feature a plaza, outdoor drums, and more

Groundbreaking for Chuck Brown Park, a memorial for the “Godfather of Go-Go,” is expected to start transforming a large section of Ward 5’s Langdon Park in August 2013. The centerpiece of the memorial for the beloved DC musical icon will be an informative memorial plaza, not a huge amphitheater with seating for 900, as was announced earlier this year. 

According to Nolan Treadway, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for SMD 5C07, the DC Department of General Services (DGS) hopes to start construction of the memorial on August 22, 2013, the date that would have been the D.C. musical icon’s 77th birthday. Treadway, whose SMD covers parts of the Woodridge and Langdon neighborhoods in northeast D.C., has spearheaded efforts to ensure that the new park not only honors Chuck Brown but also is consistent with the pace and character of the local community.

“Given an initial stumble, I’m pretty impressed with how the city has carried itself throughout this process,” Treadway says. “I’m pleased with how it’s turned out.”

Local residents had objected to the city’s plans to create a large outdoor amphitheater at the park without their input. Many expressed concerns that the amphitheater would increase noise, traffic and disturbances near the park.  In an outstanding display of responsiveness, the DC Department of General Services (DGS) released a new set of designs for feedback.

Both concepts center on an open plaza with a statue, a memorial wall, and information about Brown’s life and legacy. It calls for a discography, or list of the songs that Chuck Brown wrote, either in paving or on the walls. DGS will tell the community which design was chosen in about a week, DGS spokesman Darrell S. Pressley says.

Mayor Vincent Gray proposed creating the memorial at Langdon Park, between 18th and 20th streets south of Rhode Island Avenue NE, just weeks after the musician’s death in May 2012. Initially the proposal was greeted positively, but when the city released architect renderings in January, local neighborhoods protested. Marshall Moya Design LLC, the D.C. architecture firm that proposed the amphitheater, first scaled back its design and then replaced the amphitheater with the plaza concept. According to Treadway, the local community has been enthusiastic and excited about the new proposals.
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