Thursday, August 6, 2009

Meridian Hill Park fields open

I walked by Meridian Hill Park (aka Malcolm X Park) last week and noticed the playing fields in the middle, which had been under construction for a long time, are now open. There were teams playing soccer there both last week and this week, right in front of a sign that says "no team sports." Doh.

This photo is from April 2009, before the fences were taken down.


  1. That's unfortunate that teams are starting to use that field. That beautiful lush grass will be dead in no time if that keeps up, and then we'll have three more years of fences until its fixed again.

  2. The Parks and Rec department should just truck in some very large and decorative boulders, and put 4-6 in random locations on the grass. No more team sports.

  3. or a few more odd sculptures, to complement Dante and Joan of Arc...

  4. "No team sports" is a ridiculous sign and deserves to be flouted. If the concern is wear and tear on the field, then prohibit certain types of cleats or close the field after a heavy rain (although presumably this big renovation was to improve drainage).

    Most of Meridian Hill Park is unusable for sports. Why choke off the little bit of that space that can be used by soccer or frisbee players.

    Turf management is not rocket science. People manage to use grassy fields for sports and keep them healthy all over the country. If NPS can't handle this they should not be in charge.

  5. compaction= dead grass.
    might as well be asphalt,lol.

  6. Kickballer DestroyerAugust 6, 2009 at 10:18 PM

    Frisbee Player, but it's not a sports field. It's a park.

    You've got 20 sweaty douchebags playing team sports, not only is it destroying the grass, nobody else can use that whole section of the park until you're done.

  7. Frisbee player, I think they mean actual teams, which is what I saw. You and your buddy throwing a bee around should be fine, I assume.

  8. Nice to see NCH has such classy commenters.

    You could complain about African drummers making an insane racket ("20 douchebags banging on drums" and "it's a park, not a concert hall") and so on for every possible use of that space. The bottom line is that the park is there for everyone to enjoy and its many users need to share.

    Regular soccer and frisbee players have as much or more incentive to keep the grass healthy as anyone else because they would like to continue playing there.

    Anonymous at 10:03PM apparently doesn't know much about turf management, but healthy grass rebounds from heavy use all the time. It doesn't "compact" if the fields are given down time between games. Otherwise high school and college sports teams around the country would never play on natural surfaces or would be forced to roam around like nomads looking for new grass to "compact" into asphalt.

    Never mind the enforcement issues with preventing "team sports". If a group of toddlers wants to run around on the field will they be kicked off? What if they are in elementary school? Middle school? How many of them constitutes a "team" that must be banned? Is a hacky sack ok? What if they use a soccer ball and just kick it around? At what point do the police break up the fun because it's a team sport?

    Honestly, I do not understand why people who have many acres of space in that park available for activities other than field sports want to deprive residents of playing in the one grassy open space.

  9. "actual teams" meaning guys with jerseys = Hispanic men. I get it now.

  10. Frisbee, what? It says teams, that was a team. I don't care if it's a football team or a elephant polo team, the fields were destroyed and it took the Park Service years, literally years, to fix them. I don't want them to be destroyed again. You and your pal playing frisbee, a couple folks throwing a football or kicking a soccer ball would have much less impact than teams playing whatever sport.

  11. Kickballer DestroyerAugust 7, 2009 at 6:25 PM

    Except the drummers aren't wrecking anything. And they aren't asking the Park Service to use money they don't have to engage in special activities like "turf management" to accommodate them over all other park users. And your "incentive to keep the grass healthy" remark sounds like the Ayn Rand school of park management, which just like her economics, demonstrably doesn't work.

    Your rather obnoxious, self-entitled attitude and the evidence that team sports are recurring has inspired me to send an email to Jim Graham as soon as I finish this post, asking him to ask the Park Service to look into placing enough obstacles on that lawn so that team sports are impossible. I encourage others to do the same. I really don't want to spend the next five years looking at fenced-in dust again just because a few clowns thought the park was built exclusively for them.

  12. Many more people use the fields when they are in use for recreation such as soccer, drumming, or frisbee. There are plenty of places in the park to sun, picnic, and relax including by the terraced fountain, by the main level on W street and amidst the trees (not for sunning obviously). Why not let people recreate as they wish?
    If there were good field alternatives, soccer and ultimate players would be happy to use them.

    The reason it took three years, was mostly do to NPS incompetence.

    Frisbee player, if you want to help shoot me an e-mail zt.blogspot (at)

  13. ZT, the Tubman Elementary school field has been replaced with astroturf, that might be an option. I'll post about that in a day or so.

  14. Most of "turf management" involves rotating fields so grass can recover, so no, this is not costly. There is space for at least two playing fields.

    Kickballer Destroyer has called my friends "douchebags" and then called my attitude obnoxious for espousing a point of view regarding park usage. I suggest he use a more polite tone with CM Graham if he wants his wish. Keep in mind that Salvadorean soccer players are a major constituency of his.

    Andrew, is four-on-four considered a team sport? Three-on-three? Two-on-two "hot box"? Five guys practicing their soccer skills? At what point do you drop the ban hammer? Does it depend on how hard the player are running? My point is that the ban on "team sports" is arbitrary.

    I come back to my original point, which is that regulations are fine if they can be tied to specific damage (e.g. no cleats during or immediately after rain, which is enforced on the other NPS-managed fields in DC like the Polo Fields in Potomac Park).

    PS The scope of Meridian Hill Park renovations went well beyond re-seeding the upper level fields. The only reason for the delay in re-opening the fields, as the NPS told me, was because the contractor failed to install proper drainage.


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