A sad little patch of ground has united a 16th Street neighborhood. Last Saturday residents got together for a yard sale, the proceeds going to beautify the neglected corner park at New Hampshire Avenue and 16th Street NW.
The 1900 Block of 16th Street Council contributed household items to the sale, and raised nearly $300 to help beautify the park. Over the past three years, the council has raised nearly $1,500 from such yard sales.
Most of the money has gone toward the purchase of about 45 feet of wrought iron fencing, shrubbery and bricks.
The council has named the weedy corner patch Triangle Park, since it bears no official name from the National Park Service (NPS).
"It was the logical name," Durstyne (Dusty) McClintick, vice president and treasurer of the group, explained, noting tht the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue, U Street and 16th Street, forms a triangle.
Thelma Campbell, one of them members, said the idea started two years ago with Edith Harris. "We wanted to do something about the crime problem in the area," Campbell said.They believed the project would motivate the community to solve other common problems in the neighborhood.
Campbell, Harris and McClintick, 16th Street, residents, decided to give a name to their group and invite other neighborhood residents.
Tom Auflick, one the members responsible for obtaining permission to maintain the park, said "(The National Park Service) fiddled around with us for about a year and a half. We had to give them a plan of what we wanted to do with it because it belonged to the federal government."
Charles Bien, president of the block council, said upgrading the park has become a community project. New faces are constantly showing up to help.
One of the most demanding problems the group has encountered is water. Before the park was developed, there was not need for regular maintenance. Now Triangle Park needs lots of water nourish the group's thirsty horticultural efforts.
Auflick said NPS told him the agency doesn't have the money to put in a water system.
So, for the past two years the group has carried bucketsful of water from the McClintick home to the park.
"It's pretty funny to see a group of us carrying buckets back and forth," Bein laughted.
During the next few years, the group plans to enclose the park with wrought iron fencing, add several concrete benches and plant flowers. Their plans are at least two years off, but there's no shortage of help in the community to get the job done.