A new park where the Met Branch Trail curves at R Street has a final design
A big new park is coming to Eckington, just south of where the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) meets R Street NE. There will be a large green space that can be used to host events, along with a playground and dog park.
The NoMa Parks Foundation will build the just over two-acre park on the southern half of the empty field next to the MBT, just to the north of New York Avenue NE. The foundation acquired the land from Pepco in early 2016 and hired Nelson Byrd Woltz to design the space that fall.
Thanks to community input in the time since, the lawn, playground, and dog park spaces will be bit bigger than initially planned. The MBT where it passes the park will be wider as well.
Among the things community members wanted most were a large green space where people can lounge and where events, like the popular NoMa Summer Screen, can be held. While this lawn was included in the initial design, it's now nearly a third bigger, at about half an acre, says NoMa Business Improvement District president Robin-Eve Jasper.
Similarly, residents repeatedly requested more playground space for children and dog parks in the neighborhood. The designer improved the planned playground space and expanded the dog park to about a sixth an acre in the revised plan.
The layout of the new park remains unchanged from initial plans, with the street grid continuing through the space as two intersecting paths, and the MBT realigned to soften the sharp curve at R Street.
The NoMa Parks Foundation's new park at Third Street and L Street NE will also add playground and dog park space in the neighborhood when it opens later this year.
Foulger-Pratt, the developer, plans a roughly 330-unit mixed-use building in the space labeled “future park-oriented development” on the map above.
This finalized concept for the Eckington park was presented to a standing room-only crowd at a community meeting at the end of April, says Jasper.
DC will decide the name
The name of the new large park is one point that keeps coming up among neighborhood residents. The “NoMa Green” moniker that the NoMa Parks Foundation used in planning presentations remains just a placeholder until the community can comment and the DC Council can approve a name.
“We don't plan to name the park,” says Jasper, who adds that the city council and mayor will have to approve the preferred name before it is official.
To that end, the NoMa BID has hired design firm Pentagram to do signage and branding for the park. The firm will seek community input on a name in the next few months.
“We are invested in creating a park that is loved by the surrounding community for a couple of hundred years at a minimum, we're not invested in a name,” says Jasper.