Playgrounds show how far D.C. has come

December 10, 2013

Mayor Vincent Gray recently announced that the District will renovate eight more playgrounds next year, bringing his “Play DC” project to a total of 40 playgrounds. That’s a far cry from the 1990s, when residents who wanted a new playground were basically left to fend for themselves.

The District is allocating $1 million for each of those playground makeovers. And every two years, the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will evaluate all play spaces according to a scorecard, looking at factors such as the age and condition of equipment and the needs of the surrounding community.

I’m truly happy for today’s young children and their caregivers, who are benefiting from the District’s largesse. But I can’t help feeling just a little jealous. Twenty years ago, when my own neighborhood playground was a deserted, rotting disaster, the District wasn’t quite as vigilant, or as generous.

I hadn’t intended to become a community playground activist. In fact, I had pretty much stopped noticing the barren, heath-like space near my Chevy Chase D.C. house that contained a few dangerous, broken-down items of play equipment, including a mysterious wooden structure that suggested a gallows.

[Continue reading Natalie Wexler's post at Greater Greater Education.]

Natalie Wexler is the editor of Greater Greater Education. She is a member of the boards of D.C. Scholars Public Charter School and the nonprofit One World Education. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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Peter Galuszka | December 4, 2013