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East End News

Urban Design Committee to consider changes for Bill Robinson Park

The agenda for today’s Urban Design Committee includes a proposal by the Friends of Bill Robinson Park for some changes to the park on 35th Street. The proposal, “intended for increased security, park utilization, and greater sustainability”, includes building new basketball courts alongside the tennis court across from Franklin Military, relocating the horseshoe pits, and adding plantings to alleviate flooding issues.

The proposal says that “demolition of the existing basketball courts and construction of the walking trails will commence Fall 2017. Construction of the new basketball courts is scheduled for late Winter/early Spring 2018.”

Contact the Friends of Bill Robinson Park at for more information about the proposal or the Friends of Bill Robinson Park.


From the proposal:


EXISTING CONDITIONS (click to view larger)


PROPOSED CHANGES (click to view larger)

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35th & M 08/10/2017 at 8:23 AM

Great news! The current basketball courts are unsustaininable and unrepairable in their current location. The ancient tree’s roots are causing the asphalt to buckle and the erosion is causing silt to be washed directly on to the sidewalk and storm drain. I hope usable trash cans are made available in the new plan.

Alphabet Land 08/10/2017 at 10:26 AM

Agree with #1. The courts are nearly unusable in their current condition. I know people that live right next to the park but walk to the Libby Hill courts because they’re in better shape. Would love to see this park be a little more welcoming and usable for families in the neighborhood.

Lee 08/10/2017 at 3:55 PM

Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but I think of Bill Robison Park as “the one where teenagers go to fire handguns.” Not sure if it’s a machismo thing, if they are shooting at each other or if they just go there to get used to the noise in preparation for actual gunfights, but I’m not sure new basketball courts will fix this problem? Maybe if the park gets more use it will deter this sort of behavior, but I’m not holding my breath

35th & M 08/10/2017 at 6:42 PM

@3 As a neighbor who lives near the park, I hope you have been dilligently reporting all of these gunshots. However, I suspect you do not live near the park and are just perpetuating negative images of our neighborhood that have always existed but never prevented any of us from moving forward with improving our houses and promoting improvements to our parks and schools. No rain on my parade but thanks for trying.

Lee 08/10/2017 at 9:24 PM

@35th and M – I specifically said I didn’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, so no need for the sarcastic thank you! I manage 16 rental units at Chimborazo and N, have lived there short term many times over the years, and probably spend more time there than at home to this day. I also don’t live terribly far away either. Anyway, Aside from witnessing the activity described and picking dozens (maybe hundreds) of bullets up around my property (on the ground, out of the roof, you name it), I get complaints from Tenants all the time. I call the police when I witness it personally or can deal with a tenant complaint in a timely fashion (and have made a push for my tenants to anonymously report this sort of thing, as many of them are reluctant to talk directly with police). It has gotten better, but has not stopped. Those negative images you reference exist for a reason. I think we are on the same page, since you mention calling the police, but I’d still ask you to remember that rose colored glasses won’t stop a stray bullet.

Reply 08/10/2017 at 9:39 PM

Wonderful news! It’d be great if new courts are installed before the old courts removed. We would love that. Looking forward to long overdue improvements to the park. Thank you very much to the people making this happen. Cant wait!

35th & M 08/11/2017 at 12:29 AM

Come on Lee, hundreds of bullets, really? This post is about Jefferson Park and your accusation that it is somehow a place “where teenagers fire handguns”. I go to Jefferson Park almost daily and at least weakly pick up trash there and I have never seen a bullet on the ground. Sounds like those shooting teenagers are hanging out on your block.

Lee 08/11/2017 at 9:11 AM

@ 35th and M – this is a post about Bill Robinson Park, but maybe that’s a mistype? Regardless, yes, I have found well over fifty bullets at four multifamily properties about a block from Bill Robinson park – but I meant to say *OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS*. I have also called the police numerous times about gunfire over the last few years, and usually it is at or near the park – admittedly, it’s sometimes hard to tell exactly where it’s coming from, but it’s usually coming from that general direction. I have also seen what appeared to be teen/early twenty somethings doing exactly what I’m describing *at the park* on more than one occasion. Usually this is at night/probably not when you would be out picking up garbage. I’m sorry if that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s true nonetheless.

35th & M 08/11/2017 at 11:04 AM

Lee, I do live right across from the park. I work from home during the day and sleep each night less about 100 yards from the park. I have a dog that will alert me to any gun shot he hears even if it is actually from the Diamond or if it is echoing up the hill from Fulton Bottom (this happens often). Again, the problems in our neighborhood are real but there is no need to exaggerate or make a comment that Robinson Park is a training ground for teenage criminals to practice shooting.

Zach Noonan 08/11/2017 at 5:19 PM

I love the idea of the new park. I think it is important for the new additions to be built prior to the old play areas torn down. There are a ton of kids in the surrounding neighborhoods and that would insure they maintained their play areas throughout the transition of the park. I want to also suggest “gifting” or lessening the ornamental plant area to a group to build and maintain a community garden. This would save the tax money that would have been allocated for the upkeep of the garden and could also be used by the school As a learning tool, potentially. I was unable to attend the last meeting, looking forward to the next one!

Imani 10/25/2017 at 6:06 PM

Like why do we need a damn garden ??I’m from churchhill and I do not agree smh what is the Garden going to do for the community y’all got to do better it’s getting irritating y’all keep coming in and changing our neighborhood just to make sure the people with money are comfortable

John M 10/25/2017 at 7:02 PM

Hey Imani,

It says that the plantings are to alleviate flooding issues issues in that specific area of the playground.

Not sure this is a “y’all” thing. Maybe a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation, though.

When I first got to Church Hill back in 2003, I was shocked at the level of disrepair in the public parks, the number of vacant houses, the amount of blatant and known crime, and the like. The area had been let slide compared to the rest of the city that I was more familiar with. Same now with the conditions at George Mason ES, and before at MLK MS.

Now the city is investing in the parks again. Is it because the area has gentrified? I’m sure that has something to do with it, but we all benefit.

I can get being angry – like, why did it take this for Church Hill to have equally nice park facilities? Like, why was the Briel Street Playground ever built on a dump space (

– John


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