Usually when we think of a neighborhood transforming, we immediately assume it needs to be some big development like the DC USA center in Columbia Heights or the Verizon Center in Chinatown. This morning Marvin Gaye Park located in Ward 7 is getting some attention from Washington Post and Park and Recreation Magazine (page 40-47) for its transformation from "Needle Park" to a place where kids can play.
Marvin Gaye Park is a linear park along the Watts Branch stream. It spans the Deanwood, Hillbrook, Capitol View, Burrville and the nebulous Northeast Boundary neighborhoods in Northeast, DC. The Park is rapidly becoming a center for cultural and education with events like the annual Capitol Hip Hop Soulfest, summer Read Out in the park, and Farmer's Market. The park has become an oasis in the midst of a neighborhood in need of revitalization of bordered up homes and businesses in empty storefronts. It got me to thinking, can a park be a catalyst for neighborhood transformation?
Here is a short video produced by Washington Post: