Construction fencing and equipment have appeared this week around Randall Park adjacent to Randall Recreation Center on I Street, which means the start of long-awaited improvements to the park should be imminent. Randall Park is one of the playgrounds slated for improvements as a part of the PlayDC initiative. The project has been delayed for over a year, first due to a proposal to build a charter high school on the site, then funding issues. Eventually, over $1 million was secured to fund the renovations.
Originally, the scope of improvements was to be more comprehensive, including: new playground equipment for all ages, renovation of the existing basketball/tennis courts, removal of asphalt and brick walls and installation of a new splash park and seating areas in the plaza area fronting I Street, a skate park, walking path, adult exercise equipment, drinking fountains, picnic & game tables, security lighting, fencing, landscaping and gates. There was an objection by the developers of the adjacent Randall School project to the placement of the skate park, which would have been located next to the eastern portion of their site. Subsequently, the Department of General Services determined that there was not enough funding to do all of the renovations in one phase, so the skate and splash parks, walking path, and adult exercise equipment will not be completed during this phase. The asphalt plaza fronting I Street will still be removed, but for now it will become a grassy area.
In addition to the park improvements, $250,000 has been set aside in the FY 2015 budget to renovate the historic recreation center building, due to the Community Benefits Agreement included in the DC United soccer stadium legislation passed by the DC Council last week. Programming will also be extended for Randall, which was set to lose funding at the end of FY 2015. Park improvements should be completed by next spring.
Rendering courtesy of DPR