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Play DC serves the children of the District of Columbia well

Mayor Gray talks to the children as city leaders celebrate a new park
Mayor Gray talks to the children as city leaders celebrate a new park
Photo by Professor Metze

The years 0-9 are crucial in the development of a child. Having, clean, safe, and high quality playgrounds does foster community health and sustainability. With experience in helping the most vulnerable residents of the city, Mayor Vincent Gray understood the importance of providing children with safe places to play. Today Gray joined Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Interim Director Sharia Shanklin, Department of General Services (DGS) Director Brian J. Hanlon, Office of Planning (OP) Interim Director Rosalynn Hughey, ANC 5B05 Commissioner Jenese Jones and Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) representative Debee Yamamoto to release the Play DC Master Plan.

For parents searching for a clean playground for their child is a very serious matter. The plan that Gray created for the city of Washington was his creation, his vision, and his experience as a father and city leader for over two decades. “The District has made remarkable strides toward the fulfillment of the goals of my One City Action Plan, and this Play DC Master Plan reaches even further toward the goals of providing all residents with equitable access to parks and facilities closer to home, fostering community health and sustainability, and responding to existing residents’ needs and priorities while addressing changes in our city. When the vision is fully realized, you will be able to visit any neighborhood in the District and find a consistent quality and range of recreation experiences to meet your needs,” Gray said.

Gray’s Play DC: Playground Improvement Initiative in 2012 called for 32 newly renovated playgrounds and was seen as very ambitious. In Fiscal Year 2014, Mayor Gray added eight more playgrounds, bringing the total to 40, thus making Play DC the largest playground-renovation project in the District’s history. Gray kept his promise as newly renovated playgrounds and centers opened across the city.

The release of the Play DC Master Plan, an ambitious and strategic visionary framework for advancing the District’s parks-and-recreation resources. He released the master plan during the ribbon-cutting ceremony that opened the newly renovated Turkey Thicket Playground at the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center in Ward 5. Students from the Brookland Education Campus @ Bunker Hill also attended the ceremony.

For more than a year, DPR and OP worked on the master plan, a 15-year strategy that lays out a roadmap for the District’s parks-and-recreation system to realize its highest levels of excellence, efficiency and effectiveness. Building on the successes of the playground transformations for the last two years, the master plan is the District’s first-ever comprehensive framework for the city’s parks-and-recreation system as a whole.

“The Play DC Vision is a tremendously exciting achievement. Based on clear analysis, Play DC sets a course for achieving better access to parks-and-recreation resources, beautiful design, and improved public and environmental health — all essential goals established in the District’s Comprehensive Plan and Sustainable DC,” said OP Interim Director Rosalynn Hughey.

“As we continue to cut the ribbon on these amazing playgrounds, the sensory objects offered here are a particularly important asset as we focus on enhancing the playground experience for the children of the District of Columbia. The Play DC Master Plan tells us that the District is currently experiencing a strong growth in the 0-9-year-old population, which is exactly the age cohort that is served by these innovative play spaces. Play DC playgrounds not only allow for play, but they also allow for learning and cognitive skills development, critical learning opportunities, and offer continuous educational experiences outside the classroom,” DPR Interim Director Sharia Shanklin said.

There is nothing more important than a child. And to a child nothing is more important than having a safe place to play. The Play DC Master Plan serves the children of the District of Columbia well.

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