A meditation park is coming to Quincy and 13th, but not all neighbors feel tranquil about it 

The triangular park at Quincy & 13th Street NW that DPR wants to turn into a "meditation park."

by Yuliya Panfil

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is proceeding with plans to turn the triangular lot / patch of grass bordered by 13th Street NW, Kansas Street NW and Quincy Street NW into a “meditation garden-style” park.

The small enclosure will feature concrete walkways that emanate from each of the three streets and curve towards the center of the patch, where they converge in a circular seating area with benches. The space not covered by the concrete walkways will mostly remain grassy. A drinking fountain, bike rack and trashcan will be added to the enclosure.

But not everyone is happy about the changes. Some neighborhood residents say that while they are in favor of upgrading, they were not properly consulted about the form and function that the upgrades should take.

“There are a lot of different opinions in the community on what this space should be, and my primary complaint is that the community has been left out of the decision-making process,” says Emily Price, a local resident who has been actively tracking the development. 

Google Maps satellite view of the park.

Price says the community currently uses the triangular patch of grass for a monthly Lemonade Social. Other than that, activity is pretty ad hoc: families picnicking, parents playing T-ball with kids, people throwing a Frisbee with their dog. 

When the plans for the park were first presented at an ANC meeting in June 2016, several residents expressed preferences for the park’s design and purpose, and asked that the community be involved in any further decisions, Price said. But it seems that instead – whether through a miscommunication or negligence – the DNP was told that the community had no comments, and proceeded to bid the park redesign to a contractor. 

The project is currently pending a permit from DCRA, and work is expected to start in the fall, said ANC 4C Commissioner Bennett Hilley. 

DPR's plan for the park.

See DPR's site plan, renderings and suggested materials. 

“We will provide an updated construction schedule by the end of the month,” said DPR Deputy Director of Community Engagement, John Stokes. “We look forward to activating DPR’s first meditative garden.”

Hilley said that at this point, the broad strokes of the project are set, and she does not believe there will be opportunity for the community to substantially change the design plans. Still, she said she will arrange a time for residents to meet with the project’s chief architect, to voice their concerns and opinions. 

“I have a sense that most people are in support of these improvements,” Hilley said. “But there are community members who want to see changes. If we can talk to the residents who want to see some alterations, then we can see what’s possible."

Looking north at the park.

Hilley said the park design will be presented to the ANC in September, but will not be put to a vote.  Her sense is that residents’ frustrations are mostly over process, not substance. 

“The lack of input is what people are frustrated with, because they do want to see improvements for the park,” she said. “I think everyone is supportive of the improvements on-site."