FFF and DPR Are Park Partners!
It's official! Friends of Francis Field is now a Park
Partner with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)
"responsible for coordinating community support for Francis
Field ... as well as assisting in the care, maintenance, and
general upkeep of the Park."
The overall goal of the partnership program, as defined in
District law, is "to permit private person and
organizations to to improve and beautify parks, playgrounds and
recreations centers ...."
Director Jesús Aguirre signed the cooperative agreement on June
3, 2013, for as three-year term, which is renewable.
Aguirre is shown at at right with FFF President Anita
Diliberto, in a photo taken at Deanwood Recreational Center
where Diliberto and other FFF members attended the "First Annual
Park Partners Summit" on June 15.
The partnership agreement will allow greater cooperation and
communication between FFF and DPR, and will allow FFF to use the
field for fundraising events.
FFF has been involved in field improvements since 2006, and
raised more than $350,000 in private funds through the zoning
process for the fence, benches, trees and other improvements
made to the field in 2010 under a master landscape plan approved
FFF's current campaign, kicked off in January 2013, is "Let's
Make Francis Field Green." The effort to restore the bare dirt
sections of the field to healthy green grass within two years is
FFF's major goal at present. It will take cooperation between DPR, FFF, the
District Council, and the contractors who currently are paid to
maintain the field. FFF is also raising additional funds. (Click
here to see how to contribute.)
See also the article on this website about the slide
presentation given at FFF's annual membership meeting on May 9.
That presentation was entitled "Why Francis Field Isn't Green."
"Play DC" Seeks Input on Parks
June 11, the District's Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)
and Office of Planning announced a city-wide study aimed at
developing a 10-year "Parks and Recreation Master Plan" that
will guide the development of the park system for
implementation. The national consulting firm AECOM has been
hired to work on the study.
Individuals are invited to comment via a
new website, which uses a "social media" format called Play DC to encourage
One FFF member has already made the suggestion that DPR
renovate both Francis Field and the school field behind the
Francis-Stevens Education Center.
FFF members are encouraged to weight in, or to comment
on the post already made by the person identified as "Shand T"
on the Play DC website: the link to her post is
here. That link is set to expire on June 27.
"Why Francis Field Isn't Green"
Slide Show Presented at Annual Meeting, May 9,
As an introduction to this year's campaign "Lets Make
Francis Field Green," members were shown a 12-minute slide
presentation at FFF's Annual Membership Meeting on May 9, 2013
at the luxury apartment building WestEnd25.
Titled "Why Francis Field Isn't Green," the talk and
photographs tried to explain why school children and others in
of the District's most desirable neighborhoods had to use a
field with a dangerous, bare-dirt surface, and particularly
after $350,000 in private funds was spent on improvements
designed to compliment the resurfacing promised by the
Department of Parks and Recreation in 2007.
Part of the explanation, said FFF Secretary Gary Griffith,
was the frequent turnover of directors at the Department of
Parks and Recreation. There were four during the four-year term
of former Mayor Adrian Fenty.
While a landscape plan was approved in 2009, and partially
implemented in 2010, promises to complete it were never kept.
Shown to the group was a letter from DPR director
Hartsock stating the rest of the improvements were "scheduled to
begin in late spring 2010 and completed in 2010." (See
slide above.) But that never happened. Hartsock was not confirmed by the District Council to
continue as DPR director.
While FFF and the elected Advisory Neighborhood Commission
(ANC-2A) requested in February 2012 that DPR keep the promises it made to fix the
field, DPR then said there was no money in the
budget for field resurfacing or for construction of the dog park
that was approved for the northern section of the field near the
swimming pool. A slide of the newspaper report on that
disappointment was also shown. (See slide at right.)
FFF board members stated that the goal of the "Lets Make
Francis Field Green" campaign was to have a green grass field
during term of office of the present ANC members, the present
Council, and the present Mayor, since too often in the past the
promises made by one administration or director are forgotten by the next.
Let's make Francis Field Green during this administration.
FFF Meeting Schedule for 2013-14
Advisory Board Nominations Open
Friends of Francis Field will expand its advisory board to
permit additional representation from the two local schools in
our neighborhood, the Francis-Stevens Education Campus and
School Without Walls. Nominations are due by September 3, and
will be voted on at the Board Meeting of September 10, 2013.
FFF President Anita Diliberto has announced the schedule for
major meetings in 2013 and 2014, including the date of the
Annual Membership Meeting, when members elect Directors.
Locations have not yet been determined, but will be within
walking distance of the field. So mark your calendars. Here are
Sept. 10, 2013: Board of Directors
and Advisory Board
Mar. 20, 2014 Board of Directors
and Advisory Board
May 6, 2014
Annual Membership Meeting
Two fundraising events are also being discussed for this year
Still Awaiting Word on Fire House Relocation
As this issue of the website goes on-line, we have heard no
news about the plans for the relocation of the West End Fire
House. As we reported in our November edition (see article)
Francis Field was being considered as a possible site for the
temporary fire station while a new one is being built; and there
was considerable opposition to using the field for that purpose.
Our request to the spokesperson for the Deputy Mayor for
Planning and Economic Development, made on January 10, has so
far gone unanswered. We will update the website with
developments as we become informed of them.
See Fire House Relocation article
from the November issue of this website.