(This post is an abbreviated version of the South by West article that will appear in June's Hill Rag.)
The Southwest Playground Project (SWPP) is projected to receive $250,000 in the District's FY2013 Budget to bridge the funding gap needed to build a playground adjacent to the Southwest Branch Library at 3rd and I Street SW. Budget funds are coming from Ward 6 Council Member Tommy Wells' Committee on Parks, Libraries, and Recreation. The SWPP, a project of the Near SE/SW Community Benefits Coordinating Council, already raised over $100,000 on its own to build the playground, but several infrastructure issues need to be addressed at the city-owned park, such as storm water drainage, broken concrete pathways, and the need for retaining walls. These infrastructure improvements added nearly $250,000 to the budget estimate made by DC-based Landscape Architecture Bureau, who has been hired to design the playground. With the additional funds from the District, design work can proceed and a land survey can be conducted. Since the fiscal year begins on October 1, 2012, the District funds cannot be used until after that date. The first vote on the budget was done earlier this month and final passage is expected on June 5.
There will be a park clean-up this Saturday from 10am - 12pm at the Library Park. SWPP will provide bags, gloves, and refreshments. Bring shovels, rakes, and of course, your children.
Meanwhile, another $400,000 is reserved in the FY2013 Budget for improvements to Lansburg Park, the large underutilized park located to the east of Greenleaf Gardens along Delaware Avenue. District funds reserved for Lansburg will go towards restoring the overhead lights, as well as installing basketball court to replace the tennis courts that are currently in bad shape. The "Friends of Lansburg Park" group was formed recently to join DPR's Parks Partners program and to use SWNA's 501c3 status to do fundraising. The Friends group is working with the PAWS of Southwest, who is applying with DPR to build what would be the largest dog park in the city at Lansburg, as well as with a group who wants a community garden. An open house was held last month to solicit ideas for the future of Lansburg and a charrette is planned for sometime this summer.
In addition, at the Southwest Duck Pond's annual Volunteer Recognition Event and sign unveiling ceremony yesterday, Council Member Wells announced there will be funding set aside in the FY2013 Budget for improvements to that park. As mentioned previously, there was funding set aside in the FY2012 Budget for park improvements, but since then, the newly created Department of General Services has taken jurisdiction over capital improvements from DPR and nixed the funding appropriation.