(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray; Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Interim Director Sharia Shanklin, Ed.D.; Department of General Services (DGS) Director Brian Hanlon; ANC 5E04 Commissioner Sylvia Pinkney; Romaine Thomas, the widow of Harry Thomas Sr. and other Thomas family members; Cynthia Law Taylor, the widow of Lionel Taylor; Georgia Taylor, the mother of Lionel Taylor; and Cleopatra Jones, president of the Friends of Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center joined the Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center community for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the newly renovated Harry Thomas Sr. playground, located at the Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center (1743 Lincoln Rd., NE) in Ward 5. Students from Langley Elementary School were also in attendance today.
The Harry Thomas Sr. Playground is one of 32 new play spaces renovated under Mayor Gray's Play DC: Playground Improvement Initiative. Play DC is the largest playground renovation project in the District's history. The Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center community, along with Ward 5 stakeholders, attended several community engagement and planning meetings with DPR and DGS to finalize this project.
“DPR is proud of the final outcome of the newly renovated Harry Thomas Sr. Playground. DPR and DGS continue to work together on these amazing Play DC playgrounds, ensuring that District residents have safe, educational and inviting play spaces to enjoy. The innovative and creative use of the Fibonacci sequence theme, a very common mathematical sequence, to design a play space shows that we can infuse education and recreation in exciting and inventive ways," said DPR Interim Director Sharia Shanklin, Ed.D. "The efforts you see here today are a culmination of the Eckington community, DPR and DGS coming together to create a truly unique play space. This playground will provide positive exercise and play experiences for the residents and visitors of Ward 5.”
Today’s ribbon cutting also included a field dedication to the late Lionel Taylor. Mr. Taylor's career at DPR spanned 37 years, from 1972 to 2009, and even though he retired in 2009, his involvement with DPR and his dedication to the Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center community never ceased. After retirement, Mr. Taylor served as the chairman of the Friends of Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center, and he was a constant presence in the community and at the center. Whether through his support at the many events held at the recreation center, volunteering his time to work with the youth of the community, or taking a moment to assist with the football, kickboxing or basketball games, Lionel Taylor left an unforgettable, indelible mark on the Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center community and staff. Today's field dedication will ensure that Lionel Taylor's legacy will continue to live on for generations to come.
“We enjoyed designing and constructing this mathematical-themed playground in Ward 5 and hope that children and families throughout the city will enjoy it for years to come,” said DGS Director Brian J. Hanlon.
The Harry Thomas Sr. Playground’s “mathematical-sequence theme” derives its inspiration from the Fibonacci mathematical sequences (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc.), where each number is the sum of the previous two numbers. When these numbers are used to create squares, the result is a beautiful spiral, similar to those found in fiddlehead ferns or certain mollusk shells. Other features include new curvilinear ADA-accessible walking paths; a community garden; a fitness loop; rain gardens and bio-retention areas; two new basketball courts; one new tennis court; new custom playground equipment; interpretive signage and interactive art poles; new solar-powered scoreboard; new adult fitness equipment and shaded picnic area. As part of the Sustainable DC Initiative, the playground features a green roof pavilion and an extensive storm-water management system for its new community garden.
DPR currently operates 92 playgrounds in the District. To date, Rosedale, Palisades, Noyes, Fort Stanton, Volta Park, Raymond, Fort Greble, Emery, Harrison, Hamilton, Banneker, Macomb, Takoma and Harry Thomas Sr. playgrounds are complete under the Play DC: Playground Improvement Initiative.
ABOUT THE DC DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION
The mission of the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is to enhance the quality of life and wellness of DC residents and visitors by providing equal access to affordable and quality recreational services, by organizing programs, activities and events. DPR currently operates 92 playgrounds, 68 recreation centers, almost 1,000 acres of park land, 40 aquatic features (pools and spray parks), 375 parks, over 200 play courts (basketball and tennis), and more than 100 athletic fields.