Over the last 25 years, Parks & People has worked in over 160 parks and green spaces across DC. Our model is to partner with local community leaders, organizations, and the people we meet in the park, in order to bring a holistic re-engagement with the power of our parks. Our demonstrated impact in Marvin Gaye Park in Far Northeast DC, Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park in Columbia Heights, and Walter Pierce Park now provide strong models for advocacy and replication in other sites across the city in need of community-led revitalization. Such sites include: Oxon Run, Kenilworth, Fort Circle, Anacostia Park, and the eastern sections of Rock Creek Park.
Marvin Gaye Park is Washington’s longest municipal park, spanning 1.6 miles through the far-northeastern DC neighborhoods of Deanwood, Burville, Hillbrook, Lincoln Heights, and Northeast Boundary. This winding park was in very bad shape, largely ignored and forgotten for decades. It had become known by many as “Needle Park,” due to the extremely high level of intravenous drug use, which left thousands of discarded needles in its wake.
Led by the dreams and enthusiasm of children from the Lincoln Heights and Richardson Dwellings/Clay Terrace public housing developments, Parks & People has worked alongside community leaders for the last 14 years to restore and reclaim this vital artery of green in the midst of DC’s Far Northeast. Today, Marvin Gaye serves as a vital greenway and trail system. It is an example of the transformation that is possible when we listen to the real needs of our communities and look to the parks to meet them.
Ready to walk the trail? Click here to learn more.
This park in the Columbia Heights neighborhood is where Washington Parks & People came into being. We have worked together with neighbors and community partners to bring about the transformation of what was once the single most violent park in the capital region. Today, Meridian/Hill Malcolm X is one of the city’s safest spaces to learn, play, and explore.
Learn more about our success in Meridian Hill/Malcolm X, and join us as we imagine how to expand this model across the Washington region.