Yesterday I was downtown at the Wilson Building for Mayor Gray’s bill signing ceremony, officially changing the name of the western half of Langdon Park to Chuck Brown Park. There was a bit of coverage of the park from the Rhode Island Avenue Insider, Washington City Paper, DCist, and Washington Post.
The Mayor has said he would like the Amphitheater to be open by the summer, so I presume the RFP for construction of the project will be out very shortly. I’m not sure how many of the details of the design are up for discussion, but you can email me to provide your thoughts, concerns and feedback. I will take this feedback and share with the agencies working on this, as well as the Mayor’s staff and Councilmember McDuffie. I am working on getting representatives to attend my Single Member District meeting on Saturday, January 26 (at 10am at the Woodridge Library) to discuss the amphitheater and park improvements.
I’m both excited about the new amphitheater and concerned about its impact the neighborhood. The park in its current form has raised concerns from neighbors about people having large, loud gatherings in the park and staying in the park after closing at dark. Presumably this could be addressed through permitting and enforcement, but we haven’t yet see what that would be for the new amphitheater.
But this is also a unique opportunity for Langdon to host a memorial for a beloved city icon. So often we complain about the DC Government bringing things we don’t want to Ward 5, this unique memorial is something I think many communities in the city would be excited to host. Of course, I would have preferred for the city to ask us what kind of memorial we’d like before unveiling their designs, but that’s not how this went down.
There was a DC Council hearing on the name change, you can view the agenda in PDF form here, or watch a video of the hearing here – start the video around 1 hour 29 minutes to start with the Chuck Brown Park issue. There was also a letter of support sent from and voted on by the Woodridge Civic Association in favor of the renaming.*
I should also mention that the architect, Michael Marshall, isn’t just local to Ward 5 but grew up a few blocks from Chuck Brown Park and went to Langdon Elementary. How inspiring for our children to walk down the hill from Langdon Elementary to Chuck Brown Memorial Amphitheater with the knowledge that it was designed by someone who literally walked those same steps!
*UPDATE: This post differs slightly from it’s original form. I forgot the Woodridge Civic Association passed a letter of support, even though I was there at the time and I deleted a failed attempt to encapsulate the linked video of the hearing.