In Washington, even a small plot of land can become the focus of an intense lobbying effort.
A loosely organized group of residents around the H Street neighborhood are trying to get the city to clean up a piece of land they say is an eyesore.
Located at the intersection where Eighth and K streets Northeast meet West Virginia Avenue, the triangular plot of trash-riddled land has been dubbed by neighbors as the “K Street Triangle Park.”
From afar, the land looks like a harmless patch of overgrown bushes, but residents such as Cody Parker say it is a detriment to the community.
“[The park] is on an intersection that is a central point in our neighborhood,” he said. “There is a lot of trash and overgrown shrubs.”
Living a block away from the park, Parker takes leisurely morning walks with his dog, a beagle mix named Max, around the neighborhood.
“If you look at it, it’s like an eyesore in the neighborhood,” he said.
So Parker started a blog to get the ball rolling on a project that would focus on the park’s renovations. After holding three meetings in October, the group has grown to include 20 households.
“We want this to be a community project, with support from the neighborhood and the city,” he said.
According to Parker, the land went through a similar community project in the late ’90s. He described how the city cleaned it up and trimmed the hedges, but he said the effort was not sustained.
Adam Healy, who represents the area on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, said he supports Parker’s mission. “Sometimes it’s difficult to get resources ... and sometimes neighbors don’t know who to call to help,” he said.
Parker and Healy have begun a campaign promoting the improvement of the park by getting out into the neighborhood and informing people about the issue.
“Cody really took some initiative,” Healy said. “And we’ve fliered a two-to-three-block radius of the park to let people know who haven’t seen the blog.”
Recently, Parker also gave a presentation at Healy’s City Commissioner’s meeting to urge the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation to renovate the plot.
“We’ve had preliminary conversations with them, and they have been open because they see residents who want to fix [the park]. They are very encouraged by it,” Healy said.
The group plans to continue its efforts through the winter and hopes to start with implementation in mid- to late spring.
The blog, kstreettriangle.org, includes community conversations, pictures and suggestions about topics such as drought-resistant landscaping, removal of a current community billboard and a permanent public art installation.
“This space could be so much more!” reads one entry. “Every day, numerous people see this space as they pass by on foot, on the bus, or in their cars. Let’s make it something worth looking at. ... Together, we can make this a great community improvement!”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.