[Mintwood-place] Kalorama Park Meeting Issues
denisjames at verizon.net
Mon Jul 13 12:18:40 EDT 2009
Good points, John.
I'd like to add a few.
It's one thing to keep up appropriate maintenance of the park: see that
grass is cut and watered, trees watered and pruned when needed, shrubs
trimmed and beds mulched, as well as appropriately renewing the tot lots.
But projects that change the programming of Kalorama Park must be properly
vetted through the community. This clearly was not done. By programming, I
mean creating a different, multi-use playing surface than had previously
existed. I refer now to the 40' x 70' area above the basketball court and
near the concrete picnic table. And this area is to be used as a guinea pig
for trying out Geoblock, a modular grid that is mainly designed for growing
grass on areas where parking or driving vehicles happens on an occasional
basis. When the grass dies, or is eroded, the Geoblock edges will be exposed
and the area will be un-useable and unsafe.
The overall project has been billed as an erosion control project. John C.
correctly points out that the erosion was directly linked to the "dust-bowl
days" when the upper oval was devoid of grass.
Where did all that earth wash away to? Into the already existing drainage
system at Kalorama Park, which merely needed to be cleaned out. That's
called maintenance, folks! I watched the contractor clean out the catch
basin close to the basketball courts on the right side of the path branching
off to the upper oval. It's a 3' x 3' concrete box, 8' deep with a drain at
the bottom. It was filled to the top with mud. If parts of the existing
drainage system are broken, let's fix them. Let's have DPR spend some of
this $130,000 on maintenance, instead of on projects that are largely
unnecessary or unwanted. And let's only have capital construction projects
move forward after a full community discussion has arrived at a consensus
plan on what needs to be done, or which improvements may be desired.
From: John.Cloud at noaa.gov [mailto:John.Cloud at noaa.gov]
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2009 10:15 AM
To: Stesney, Bridget (DPR)
Cc: Belinda Reeder; Hartsock, Ximena (DCPS-OOC); Eddie_becker at yahoo.com;
Matt Forman; AllforKaloramaPark at yahoogroups.com;
Mintwood-place at lists.mutualaid.org; Borges, John (DPR); weaveranc at aol.com;
Moye, Stacey (ANC 1C01); wreynoldsanc at aol.com; mindymoretti at yahoo.com;
Leslie Douglas; Lisa Duperior; Emily Mechner; denisjames at verizon.net;
president at kaloramacitizens.org; tedstein at gmail.com; dcvirginia at hotmail.com;
seizetv at yahoo.com; adam at mintwood.com; jbiggs7815 at aol.com;
wendicle at yahoo.com; alexisbme at mac.com; Burrell, Yaiza (EOM); Moulton, Sarah
(DPR); Belinne, Adrian (DPR); Stokes, John (DPR); Janifer, David (DPR)
Subject: Re: Kalorama Park Meeting Issues
I am at a conference at the Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen (callled the
Black Diamond) and so will miss the July 14 meeting, but it's a tough job
(Copenhagen) and somebody's got to do it.
I have no idea how things stand in Kalorama Park now, but it seems to me
that DPR and the constituencies of Kalorama Park need to address the
(1) The erosion project was developed originally 2-3 years ago to deal with
the symptoms of another problem (loss of lawn and sheet erosion caused by an
out of control illegal dog park scene) that has changed considerably for the
better, yet somehow the erosion project acquired a life of its own,all out
of context to the real problems of the park.
(2) This was compounded by DPR and the Fund for Kalorama Park both
pretending that somehow the Fund, which is about 10 people, actually
"represents" the many constituencieof the park, when in fact the Fund
represents about 10 people. The picnic table is a good example. Matt
Foreman perports to represent the "community's" desire to get rid of an
untidy old object, but in fact he's the only person who was weighed in on
this issue who wants the picnic table removed. Everyone else wants it
saved. So in what possible sense does the Fund "represent" anyone except
its own members?
(3) Once DPR initiated the actual project, once again they encountered their
fatal flaw, apparent in every other contracted project I have seen with DPR,
which is that DPR personnel is entirely incapable of actually administering
a contract properly. The contract specs stated clearly that the tree
protective fences were to go up before ANYTHING was done in the park, and
that there was to be absolutely NO on-site storage of debris, that the
contrctor was on notice it had to arrange off+site storage of excavated
debris. Then things went off-rail on Day One, and DPR did nothing, until
citizen outcry weeks into the project forced its hand.
(4) Now many trees in Kalorama Park have suffered serious damage to their
root systems, possibly permanent damage, and despite DPR assurances that
there are "technical" fixes to this, such fixes are neither specified in the
contract nor budgeted in this or any other DPR contract. So what does DPR
propose to do, and where is the money to pay for it going to come from?
DPR's dirty little embarassing ssecret is that it can't extract monies from
the contract funds themselves, because DPR NEVER objected to the infractions
in a timely manner, and probably DPR already signed off on numerous
"inspections" meaning DPR approved the work and now must pay for it.
(5) The whole geo-block surface area is just another aspect of the
fundamental problem with DPR/Fund "planning" for Kalorama Park, which is
that they studiously ignore real tangible needs in the park-- like the
partially functional but hugely -used baketball court, or the pressing need
for supplemental watering of park lawns and trees, not to mention the orphan
park street trees-- and instead propose "solutions" for non-existent
problems, so now an asphalt level gets replaced by a geo-block surface so
people can play games that nobody plays in the park-- or maybe you can,t
play them anyway, although you can park a car on the geo-blocks.
(6) There simply needs to be an entirely re-organized way that DPR
functions, where monies
can be spent for "X" but not "Y" even though these make no rational sense,
apart form the evident problems with communication that have been made quite
clear. Drector Ximena Hartsock is trying really hard to react to the
problems but it it better to avoid the problems in the first place.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stesney, Bridget (DPR)" <Bridget.Stesney at dc.gov>
Date: Monday, July 6, 2009 10:00 pm
Subject: Kalorama Park Meeting - 7/14
> Please join us on July 14th for a follow-up meeting on the ongoing
> project at Kalorama Park. A flyer is attached.
> Thanks, Bridget Stesney
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