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D.C. plans $30m in renovations at 32 playgrounds

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Photo - Children at a Northwest D.C. playground (Examiner file photo)
Children at a Northwest D.C. playground (Examiner file photo)
Local,DC,Alan Blinder

The District government will pursue an enormous renovation of playgrounds throughout D.C. in the 2013 fiscal year, in a $30 million project that will span each of the city's eight wards.

"Every child in the District should have a safe and inviting place to play," Mayor Vincent Gray said in a statement. "Renovating these playgrounds is an investment in the well-being of our children that will pay dividends for years to come."

The mayor's office said the slate of renovations amounts to the largest playground reconstruction project in the city's history, with the District planning upgrades at 32 of its 78 playgrounds.

Getting upgrades
The District says 32 parks will be renovated during the fiscal year.
Ward 1
Banneker: 2500 Georgia Ave. NW
Harrison: 1330 V St. NW
Ward 2
Rose Park: 2609 Dumbarton St. NW
Volta: 1555 34th St. NW
Ward 3
Forest Hills Park: 32nd and Chesapeake streets NW
Key: 5001 Dana Place NW
Macomb: 3409 Macomb St. NW
Newark Park: 39th and Newark streets NW
Palisades: 5200 Sherrier Place NW
Ward 4
Emery: 5801 Georgia Ave. NW
Fort Stevens: 1327 Van Buren St. NW
Hamilton: 1340 Hamilton St. NW
Raymond: 915 Spring St. NW
Takoma Park: 300 Van Buren St. NW
Upshur Park: 4300 Arkansas Ave. NW
Ward 5
Brentwood: 2311 14th St. NE
Noyes: 2725 10th St. NE
Harry Thomas Sr.: 1743 Lincoln Road NE
Turkey Thicket: 1100 Michigan Ave. NW
Ward 6
Kennedy: 1401 Seventh St. NW
Randall: South Capitol and I streets SW
Rosedale: 1701 Gales St. NE
Ward 7
Benning Park: Southern Avenue and Fable Street SE
Benning Stoddert: 100 Stoddert Place SE
Hillcrest: 3100 Denver St. SE
Neval Thomas: 650 Anacostia Ave. NE
Ward 8
Barry Farm: 1230 Sumner Road SE
Congress Heights: 611 Alabama Ave. SE
Douglass: 2100 Stanton Terrace SE
Fort Greble: Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Elmira Street SW
Fort Stanton: 1800 Erie St. SE
Oxon Run: Sixth Street and Mississippi Avenue SE

Although each ward will have at least one playground renovated, Wards 4 and 8 will see the most activity, with city officials planning renovations of six playgrounds in each.

Although the city had been planning for renovations at eight playgrounds, it added 24 sites to its proposal after a pair of D.C. agencies conducted an analysis to evaluate which areas had the greatest need.

The criteria the agencies used included the age and condition of existing equipment, demographic trends and proximity to other playgrounds.

Jesus Aguirre, director of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, said he expected the updated playgrounds would boost the city's efforts to promote healthy lifestyles.

"Play is a fundamental aspect of growth and development for children and youth," Aguirre said. "A positive exercise experience leads to avoidance of weight gain, higher self-esteem and reduction of risk factors for disease."

But the push for more play won't be cheap. The Gray administration, though, heralded the plan as an example of the payoffs of sound fiscal policy.

City officials said about $14.5 million of the plan's cost will come from "savings from efficiency and prudent management" of the District's budget during the 2012 fiscal year.

That fiscal year ended on Sept. 30 with the District on track to post a surplus of at least $140 million, the city's 16th consecutive surplus.

Examiner Staff Writer Liz Farmer contributed to this report.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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