American Way: Sign of the Times — Washington D.C.’s NoMa is a pioneering neighborhood for the deaf community

… Along with outdoor outfitter REI, Red Bear is housed in a renovated 1940s ice arena. Outside the building, sidewalks provide “signing space”—room to walk and sign—and benches that face each other, allowing for “conversation circles,” both ASL design terms. A block away, the recently opened Swampoodle Park has “open sight lines,” says its designer Jeff Lee. The benches around the park are curved, another nod to the deaf community. READ MORE

Metropolitan Washington’s persistent urban challenges are frequently in the news. The concerns include ensuring public safety; providing quality public education; increasing the availability of affordable housing; promoting accessibility and quality of transportation; enhancing infrastructure reliability and durability; and caretaking of public parks and open space. Sustaining fiscal and economic health — especially jobs — also is high on the list.

Another urban challenge that tends to be overlooked is the need for beautification of visually unappealing and unsafe public places.

Examples of such places in the District are the dark, poorly lighted, ominous railway underpasses along K, L and M streets NE, and Florida Avenue NE, in the NoMa (North of Massachusetts Avenue) neighborhood. READ MORE

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NoMa Parks Foundation to Open Swampoodle Park on November 17

8,000-Square-Foot Space at 3rd and L Streets NE, the Neighborhood’s First New Park, Combines a Dedicated Dog Area, a Play Structure for Children, and Public Seating

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Calling all kids and their canine friends! The NoMa Parks Foundation will celebrate the completion of Swampoodle Park with an inaugural Wallholla climb and dog procession on the morning of Saturday, November 17, at 11:00 a.m. Located at the intersection of 3rd and L streets NE, the 8,000-plus-square-foot park — previously a vacant lot for which condominiums were once planned — offers a play structure for children, a dedicated space for dogs, and public seating, as well as trees and other plantings. Swampoodle Park was designed by District landscape architecture firm Lee and Associates, with substantial input from the NoMa community provided through multiple public meetings and surveys. (more…)

The NoMa Parks Foundation is ready to officially turn on the 4,000 light rods hung in the M Street NE underpass on Thursday evening. Rain, designed by Thurlow Small Architecture + NIO architects, includes LED light rods hung from the ceiling of the underpass in a series of vaults. The lights will stay on around the clock and will respond to activity in the underpass. Read more.

 

You’ve supported the efforts to bring parks to NoMa — now it’s time to name two of the forthcoming parks!

The NoMa Parks Foundation is seeking community input to name the 2.5-acre green space north of New York Avenue (known as “NoMa Green”), and a smaller park at the corner of 3rd and L streets NE (known as 3rd and L Park). Neighbors and community members are encouraged to propose names at ImagineNoMaParks.org through August 25. At the website, you’ll find helpful documents for each park, including images of the designs, neighborhood history, and some questions to consider as you brainstorm names.

Suggested names will be narrowed to four or five options, then released again for a community vote. The final selections will be recommended to the D.C. Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser, who will make the ultimate decision on the name for these new public parks that will serve all District residents and visitors.

Get your creative juices flowing and help identify a welcoming name that will stand the test of time!