Let’s make Kenilworth Park the best it can be
Kenilworth Park is going to be restored. Federal and District government agencies are going to clean up the former landfill. The Anacostia Park and Community Collaborative is collecting stories about Kenilworth Park and visions for how the northern portion of the park, which will be transferred to the District of Columbia from the Federal government, could best serve the neighborhood after it is cleaned up.
How could a new Kenilworth Park best support you and your community?
Current law states the park must be used for open space and recreation. We believe that the park, once cleaned up, can provide more than just space for recreation: it can provide green jobs for our neighbors, outdoor education classrooms and programs for our children, better access to the river, spaces for meditation and healing, and more.
What kind of programs or park places might help you the most? How could a restored and improved park not only have new fields, basketball courts or other recreation amenities, but also provide amenities for the whole family, programs that create jobs or train youth, space for urban agriculture, new forests that clean the air, boat launches for Ward 7 residents, educational spaces for nearby schools, spaces for mental and spiritual healing? What are your ideas?
Background and History
Kenilworth Park operated as a open-burn landfill from 1942-1970. People in this neighborhood suffered plumes of smoke from the landfill trash fires in the 40's, 50's and 60's. The landfill was closed two years after a young boy from the neighborhood, Kelvin Tyrone Mock, was killed in the trash fires.
The landfill was capped with soil and turned into a recreation area. Although it is safe for recreation now, there are still some contaminants in the soil and groundwater, so the National Park Service and District government are creating a plan to clean up Kenilworth Park. You can learn more about the cleanup plan on NPS’ Kenilworth Park Landfill website.
After the area is cleaned up, the northern half of the park will be transferred to the District of Columbia, and the southern half will remain under National Park Service management. The National Park Service plans to maintain the southern half of Kenilworth Park as a natural resource recreational area, used for wildlife habitat and recreational use such as birding and trail use. You can see the National Park Service plan for their land along the Anacostia River here.
A Community Vision for the Future of Kenilworth Park
A restored Kenilworth Park (North) could become an amazing waterfront park designed to directly serve the neighborhood that lives near it.
The member organizations of the Anacostia Park and Community Collaborative identified the restoration of Kenilworth Park as a top priority back in 2017. We believe that the park, once cleaned up, can provide more than just space for recreation: it can provide green jobs for our neighbors, outdoor education classrooms and programs for our kids, better access to the river, spaces for meditation and healing, and more.
We are collecting ideas about the future of Kenilworth Park to help inform what the District of Columbia government plans to do with the space once it is cleaned up. To start, we advocated that a well-designed Kenilworth Park can help make DC more “resilient” and should be part of DC’s Resilience Strategy. Now we are collecting ideas from people like you about what could happen in Kenilworth Park North in the future.