Volta Park spends the weekend in the spotlight
John Richardson founded the Friends of Volta Park in 1995 to rescue it from virtual abandonment by the District Government during the fiscal crisis of mid-90s. The park was considered dangerous, trash was not picked up and the pool and recreation center were closed. They started with the basics, trash pick-up, flower planting and tree pruning.
Now, fifteen years later, Friends has a formal management partnership with the parks department, including landscaping, new gardens and irrigation system, playground improvements and replacement of a chain-link fence with a new ornamental fence.
Perhaps a testament to Volta's progress, a Friday reception for Friends of Volta Park drew a large and distinguished crowd to the Georgetown Visitation School that Richardson probably never would have dreamed of in the '90s. Board President Mimsy Lindner introduced Mayor Adrian Fenty, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, at-large Councilmember David Catania, and Jesús Aguirre, acting director of the parks department. Guests bid for items at a silent auction, enjoyed a full range of light treats from 1789 Restaurant and otherwise thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.
Originally a cemetery, including for soldiers from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and possibly the Civil War and more recently a venue for Kennedy bothers touch football, Volta Park is now one of Georgetown’s beloved public spaces, heavily used and deeply supported by the community. Every spring, residents, city officials and businesses demonstrate their devotion to the park at 34th Street, between Q and P Streets in west Georgetown, with a weekend of activities, highlighted by a Friday fundraiser, a Saturday tennis tournament and a fun-for-everyone Volta Park Day on Sunday.
“This is a very successful event,” said Lindner. “We’re proud we have a lot of younger board members in leadership roles with young families with children.”
The District has now resumed basic programming and upkeep and the Friends now focus on landscaping and maintenance of the grounds and gardens. The Friends also worked with Councilmember Evans to renovate and re-open the pool and recreation center.
“I am truly grateful to people like Mimsy for taking over,” said Richardson. “It’s now better than ever.”
Check out photos of Volta Park Day below, where Mayor Adrian Fenty stopped by to press the flesh and grab a cheeseburger.