Staff Editorial: Local parks need more love

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The Chesapeake House is a vacant National Park Service building at the corner of Chesapeake Street and Belt Road NW. (Brady Holt/The Current/August 2017)
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Most small parks in the District are unfortunately under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, which does not have the funding, or often even the interest, to maintain them properly. Many, as a result, are in terrible condition.

Thankfully, our non-voting Congressional representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton, got the House of Representatives to approve unanimously legislation authorizing the park service to work with the District government and form cooperative agreements for the parks’ operation, maintenance and management.

An example of what could be done should the bill become law is a proposal for the District to take over operational jurisdiction of Franklin Park, which is located in the downtown area.

Franklin’s rehabilitation and maintenance would be funded thanks to a proposed public-private partnership between the Park Service, the District government and the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, which has budgeted $750,000 annually to operate and maintain the park once renovations are completed.

Should Ms. Norton’s bill become law, we are confident numerous other organizations will be willing to emulate the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District and improve and maintain our city’s parks now poorly run by the National Park Service.