Council bill would name Adams Morgan park after late community leader

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The triangle park bounded by Kalorama Road, 19th Street and Columbia Road NW would be named in honor of Adams Morgan activist Ann Hughes Hargrove under proposed legislation. (Brian Kapur/The Current/October 2017)

A small park in Adams Morgan could soon be named for Ann Hughes Hargrove, a community leader who fought to preserve the neighborhood’s historic buildings and character.

The D.C. Council is currently considering a bill from Ward 1 member Brianne Nadeau to name the small triangle bounded by Kalorama Road, 19th Street and Columbia Road NW — across Kalorama Road from Kalorama Park — as Ann Hughes Hargrove Park.

Hargrove, who died in 2014, helped fight the Inner Loop Freeway, which would have cut through Adams Morgan and other Northwest neighborhoods; founded the Citizens Planning Commission to provide citizen input on the city’s first Comprehensive Plan in the 1970s; and served on the task force that helped draft the District’s 1979 historic preservation law. Hargrove was also part of the city’s first class of advisory neighborhood commissioners, elected to ANC 1C (Adams Morgan) in 1979; served in leadership posts at the Kalorama Citizens Association; chaired the Committee of 100 on the Federal City; and was the chief of staff to Ward 1 Council member Frank Smith.

“What I think is really special about Ann’s work, and Ann in particular, was that she really understood the way that urban planning and historic preservation impacts people’s lives,” Nadeau told The Current.

The site sits across Kalorama Road NW from Kalorama Park. (Brian Kapur/The Current/October 2017)

The council heard community comment on the bill at an Oct. 5 Committee of the Whole hearing, where every witness expressed enthusiasm. ANC 1C, where the park is located, and ANC 1A (Columbia Heights) have both voted unanimously in favor of renaming the space.

In an interview, ANC 1C member Wilson Reynolds said naming the park after Hargrove was a “no-brainer,” and that she epitomized the concept of public service. Hargrove was able to cite information and data points in a way that was inspiring, Reynolds said.

“Ann had this wonderful ability to love getting deep into an issue at the DNA level,” Reynolds said. “You know, most people couldn’t keep up with her.”

Hargrove’s husband Larry said that she cared deeply about the preservation of residential architecture and the protection of residential neighborhoods in the District.

After Hargrove died in 2014, Jim Graham — Nadeau’s predecessor for the Ward 1 council seat — introduced a bill to name the park after her. However, District law imposes a two-year moratorium after an individual’s death before ceremonial renamings can take place, forcing the council to put off action on Graham’s proposal.

Then, in May, Nadeau proposed a new bill to name the area after Hargrove. Nadeau said that she worked with ANC 1C and Larry Hargrove to develop the bill. A date for the council to vote on the legislation has not yet been set.