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Mayor cuts ribbon on two parks, unveils parks master plan

A child enjoys a ride on the zip line at Douglass playground at the grand opening

The Turkey Thicket plan

Overhead view of the Douglass playground concept

The play farmers' market stand at Turkey Thicket

Map showing where outdoor facilities are most needed in the city

City officials cut the ribbon on two renovated parks last week, including one with a zip line, and unveiled the Play DC Master Plan, a document laying out the city's 15-year priorities in parks, rec centers, pools, trails and more.

The first renovated park, Turkey Thicket in the Northeast neighborhood of Brookland, features a "village" theme, with play equipment that mimics trains, cars and boats...and a tiny play "farmers' market." There's also a splash pad for the hot summer months, a community garden, and a wall that movies can be projected on.

The next day, Mayor Gray and city officials opened the renovated Douglass playground, at 1898 Stanton Terrace, SE, just outside Congress Heights.

That playground is designed to represent three phases of abolitionist Frederick Douglass's life. It is unclear which phase of Douglass's venerable life included a zipline, but the park also includes D.C.'s first--80 feet long, according to Department of General Services' Kenneth Diggs. (Think "gentle cruising speed," however, not "plunging down a mountain.")

Both playgrounds are part of the Play DC playground improvement initiative, which is set to renovate 40 of DPR's 92 playgrounds. Douglass makes the 24th.

At the Turkey Thicket ribbon-cutting, Mayor Gray also announced the Play DC Master Plan, which significantly expands upon the playground improvement initiative. The plan's goals include increasing access to rec centers and aquatics facilities, expanding bike trails, and building more community gardens or planting more trees at DPR facilities.

In parks and playgrounds specifically, the plan makes a few recommendations. One is to open D.C. Public Schools grounds to the community when school is out, which would greatly increase residents' ability to access a park within a brief walk from home.

The plan also calls for more renovations of outdoor spaces, new athletic fields, and ongoing maintenance. 

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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