Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dead Trees, Scorched Grass, and Cigarette Butts: Welcome to Mosaic Park

I live less than a block away from Ballston's Mosaic Park. Should be one of my favorite spots, right?

In the three years I've lived here, I've used Mosaic Park twice. Maybe three times.

Why? Mosaic Park is a lot closer to a parking lot than an actual park. Grass doesn't do well in DC's blistering summer sun unless it's watered, so the park is only green for parts of spring and fall. Without grass to slow the ball, you can't play soccer or toss a baseball -- in either case, any errant ball keeps rolling straight into traffic.

Plain and simple, the park looks like no one cares about it. Small trees were planted but never watered, and at least half are now little more than vertical sticks. As you can see in the picture, litter accumulates around the edge of the park, especially cigarette butts. In the winter, the County doesn't bother shoveling the adjacent sidewalk.

A jungle gym and small climbing wall were added to one end of the park a couple of years ago, so toddlers get some use out of that. But when we first moved in back in 2004, the Arlington Parks Department told us a basketball court would soon be going in. Since my roommate and I love to play (even though our combined vertical leap is approximately 13 inches), we were psyched. But 2004 came and went with no court, and in early 2005 we were told there was no money to build it.

Now there's talk of the park being part of a huge mixed-use redevelopment of the neighboring Metro bus yard. Which would be cool, although Ballston's version of "mixed-use" tends to be "a boring rectangular condo or office tower with a Blimpee on the first floor." And a quick net search shows this isn't the first time a redevelopment of that spot has been planned. Others have fallen through before and so far, the sometimes-leaky bus yard remains.

A little depressing? At least for The Green Miles' style? You're probably right. Let's balance it out with Mission Sqwerlpossible (via
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