Hearst Park and Pool

Renovation of Hearst Park by DC Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) and Department of General Services (DGS) is began Summer 2019.

Update January 2023

CPCA recognizes the ongoing concern of the community regarding the stewardship of Hearst Park and it’s Heritage Willow trees.

The completion of the Hearst Park project was marked by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) pool opening on Memorial Day, May 30, 2021. The renovation was completed two years later than expected due to numerous issues. A major issue was the uncovering of an underground spring near the pool site. The spring’s presence required installing permeable piping, a sump system holding tank and pumps to periodically remove the water and discharge to neighboring storm-water drains. Other delays were attributed to unforeseen site conditions near the tennis courts and a bio-retention pond that required design changes to the new boardwalk’s structural support system.

Since opening six months ago, one Heritage Willow oak tree has died, a second is assessed to not survive until the spring, and a third is in jeopardy due to severe stress caused by unconfined water from the spring that was uncovered during construction and careless work and storage activity within the structural and critical root zones of the tree.

In order to address the spring’s uncontained water, the Department of General Services (DGS) has proposed a new French-drain trench in the vicinity of the fallen tree and new swales to redirect surface water to existing drains.  The community has raised concerns regarding DGS’s remediation plans and more generally, its continued inadequate DPR and DGS project management and failure to deliver on promises.   These concerns were reflected in unanimous resolutions this September by ANC 3C and ANC 3F (see links below.)

2022-Consent Urging Action to Save Hearst Park Heritage Willow Oak Trees

ANC 3F Resolution Urging Coordinated Action to Save Hearst Park Heritage Willow Oak Trees and Improve Community Engagement

Still unaddressed is accountability for the ineffective project design resulting in standing ground and storm water and negligent construction practices which caused the death of one Willow oak and the expected death of at least one more.  In November 2022, ANC 3C passed unanimously a resolution calling on the District’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the project, including the failed enforcement of the District’s Heritage Tree Law, D.C. Code § 8-651.04a(a) and contractual requirements to protect the trees’ critical root zones (see link below.) ANC 3F was scheduled to consider an OIG resolution December 13, 2022.

ANC3C Resolution 2022-CONSENT Urging Office of Inspector General to Investigate Mishandling of Hearst Park and Pool Project

Update September 2021

Department of General Services Statement on Hearst Park and Pool Project
Attributable to Keith A. Anderson, Director

DGS and the District, realize the Ward 3 community has eagerly awaited the opening of the Hearst Park and Pool Project. We recognize the project has experienced significant delays due to
a range of issues, including site matters and we continue to work with the contractor to address the delays. However, all outstanding project work will be completed in October, when the
District will deliver a high quality, on-budget and safe project.

To date, the pool is 100% complete, and the final additions to the pool house are near completion at 97%. The outstanding work includes the final inspection, final equipment start-up, security, IT
equipment, exterior lighting, upper-level exterior siding, punch list and staff training.

The overall sitework/landscaping is approximately 80% complete. Work is being finalized on the stormwater/bioretention grading and construction along Idaho Avenue. Once the bioretention work is completed, the elevated walkway will connect Idaho Avenue to the park.

Landscaping along 37th Street will include planting and Casey Trees fall planting. The tennis courts are 85% complete. Final touches include painting, striping, nets and the practice wall. Note, the soccer field was installed in segments which did not result in a uniformly graded field, which is a DGS standard. Currently, the contractor is regrading and replacing the field; the
field will require 8-10 weeks to become established (which must occur before usage). The Hearst field will remain offline for this season and will open next field season in Spring 2022.

With recent improvements to the park and field grading and stormwater management system, the park and field are no longer contributing factors to the DDOT right-of-way (ROW) runoff. However, DGS and DPR continue to monitor these improvements to ensure they continue to properly direct runoff. DPR and DGS will also be repairing the stairs and improving the trail in the DDOT ROW.

We appreciate the support of the community and the commitment from all our partners to deliver the Hearst Park and Pool Project. We will follow up with the community with any additional updates.

Commissioner Siddiqui wrote a letter to DGS expressing his feelings on the DGS update. You can read his letter here.