At tonight's ANC 6D meeting, four moms of young children spoke in favor of building a community playground on the northeast parcel of Waterfront Station that the District government owns. Their argument is a community playground is needed in a centrally located area of Southwest because the community doesn't have a publicly accessible playground and they have to go to Capitol Hill or other parts of the city or Northern Virginia to find one for their children to use. The women want to work with KaBOOM, a non-profit organization that helps build playgrounds and will solicit financing from the District. They will also do fundraisers to fill in any gaps in financing. In addition, Camille Cook, another local resident, expressed her desire for a community garden to be included in this proposed playground, since a garden in front of the Department of Education headquarters will be removed to make way for Eisenhower Square.
Currently, the parcel in question is vacant and is slated for a residential development once economic conditions improve (see above). I think they have a valid argument for a children's playground and garden. However, I disagree with their choice of location. At this same ANC meeting, At-Large DC Council member Phil Mendelson told the commissioners that the District is running out of money and is near its borrowing limit. The District-owned Waterfront Station parcel is too valuable to be used as a playground. Instead, the District should issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Waterfront Station parcel and require a mixed-use development, including a new library. Proceeds from the RFP can then be used to knock down the old library across the street and build a playground/community garden in its place. The playground/community garden would be built later under this approach, but the community can get a new library and centrally-located playground without using taxpayer dollars. Plus, the playground/community garden would mirror Town Center Park on the other side of Waterfront Station.
Update: Vote in April's poll on what the District should do with the vacant NE parcel at Waterfront Station and/or leave a comment.