Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wash Po-Marvin Gaye Park Reclaims Troubled N.E. DC Neighborhood

Mosaic of legendary singer Marvin Gaye in N.E. Washington, DC park named in his honor: Gerald Martineau/Washington Post
(Story reported by Martin Ricard for the Washington Post)

Eleven-year-old John Blue sat alone Thursday afternoon high atop a domed metal climber, dangling his feet and soaking up the fresh air.

His private perch, amid other newly installed equipment at a playground near Division Avenue and Foote Street NE, gave him a great view over a much-improved Marvin Gaye Park.
photo credit: Gerald Martineau/Washington Post
"They need this playground," the boy said of the children in the neighborhood. "They need something to do in the afternoon so they're not just sitting around."

John was one of a number of residents, District officials and businesspeople who gathered at the park to celebrate the opening of the new playground, the first time in almost 30 years the park has seen a major improvement.

To the soulful tunes of Gaye -- the Motown singer for whom the park was renamed in 2006 and who grew up not too far away in the East Capitol Dwelling housing complex -- children played on the purple, yellow and green swings and jungle gyms. People also mingled on the playground's spongy rubber groundcover and at the newly paved amphitheater, surrounded by trees, newly planted shrubs and flowers and the restored Watts Branch stream.

The playground, they said, was a sign of new life in this long-neglected corner of Ward 7.

(Click here to read the full story on the Washington Post website.)

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