The National Park Service, the District of Columbia, and the Downtown Business Improvement District (the Partners) together are collectively committed to transform Franklin Park into an active, flexible, sustainable, and historic urban park connected to its community. The District has experienced significant population growth in Center City DC in recent years, resulting in increased demand for high quality open space and an urgent need for re-envisioning Franklin Park. Franklin Park, at five acres, is the largest National Park Service reservation in Center City DC and therefore provides a unique opportunity to serve the community and enhance urban living. Currently the park does not meet today’s diverse urban needs; however, the Partners see the potential to transform Franklin Park into one of our nation’s premier urban parks based on lessons learned from national models, including Madison and Union Square parks in New York City. To realize this dramatic transformation, we believe that an inclusive design process and a bold approach to improvements and programming is necessary to create a great park that can attract and serve users, as well as engage financial support from multiple partners for long-term maintenance and operation. The following goals elaborate this vision and shall guide this project:
As an urban park, Franklin Park should provide multiple active and passive recreational opportunities, essential services such as restrooms, food and flexible seating, and have actively managed daytime and evening events and programs.
The renovation of Franklin Park should celebrate and respect the historic character and sense of place through restored historic resources, rich landscaping and seasonal plantings, and high quality site and building materials.
- Franklin Park should be designed as a sustainable, maintainable, and ecologically sensitive place that serves a diverse group of users including young and old District residents, workers, and visitors.
- Franklin Park should be framed by an enhanced streetscape and public realm and integrated with multiple transportation modes, including Capital Bikeshare, Metrobus, Metrorail, and the future streetcar.
- Franklin Park should utilize a public/private management structure to fund, program, maintain, and provide security for the park.
Background and History
- CapitalSpace Initiative: National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), District of Columbia Office of Planning (DCOP), District of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department (DPR), NPS (2010) Franklin Park is specifically addressed in the plan’s fifth Big Idea pertaining to Center City parks (pp. 77-79).
- Center City Action Agenda (DCOP 2008): The Action Agenda broadly advances placemaking goals and creates a comprehensive plan for addressing parks and open space needs throughout the District. Franklin Park is listed as key open space along the K Street corridor, one of seven corridors for focused investment on page 38.
- Center City Urban Park Strategy (DCOP 2010): The plan presents five strategies for improving existing parks and creating new parks, which address funding, management, and activation.