Friends of Francis Field

Clean-Up, Rock Removal, and Assessment Day

Succeeds as Team Project with Permit Holder

Posted: October 18, 2020

Clean-Up group posing on field

Friends of Francis Field and Stonewall Kickball volunteers on the field, September 7, 2019.

A team of 30 people, armed with rakes, brooms, "litter pickers," and trash bags worked on Francis Field on Saturday morning, September 7, to clean up the field, remove visible rocks, and assess the work that needs to be done by the District of Columbia government to make the field safe for adult and school teams that use the field for athletics and social sports.

Stonewall Kickball, an adult social-sports league that is the largest group to hold a current permit for use of the field, provided about 25 volunteers to the effort. Friends of Francis Field (FFF) provided 6 volunteers.

The effort grew out of a meeting held last May to address residents' concerns about the size of the groups being permitted by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the lack of maintenance by the D.C. Department of General Services (DGS) which is responsible for the upkeep of the field. (See Permit Meeting story on this website.)

At the September 7th event, the group removed several wheelbarrow loads of rocks and bricks that it dug out of the athletic field using screwdrivers. More were picked up on the park area outside the athletic field.

Coder park areaSeveral dangerous holes on the athletic field that have previously been reported to DPR and DGS were marked. These need to be filled by the contractor who is paid by DGS to maintain the field. This involves bringing clean fill dirt onto the field, filling the holes, planting grass seed, and fertilizing. DPR regulations prohibit volunteers from doing this kind of work without a "right of entry" permit and a certificate of insurance.

FFF worked with a private contractor in an experiment to green the field using private funds in 2017 and 2018. That succeeded (see May 2018 report on this website) but DGS has failed to have its contractor maintain the turf for the level of permitting that DPR is allowing. A resolution passed by the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC-2A) in 2018 requesting DPR to provide a balance between maintenance and permitting has not been effective. (See Over-Permitting and Under-Maintenance resolution on this website.)

FFF is again requesting the assistance of its elected representatives on ANC-2A and the District Council to have this work done.

One other project of the clean-up day was to remove most of the "tree watering" bags on the park area outside the athletic field. Those were put in place during the May 2017 tree-planting event. (See Tree Planting story on this website.) Volunteers have watered the trees since then, but most are well-established now. The grass, however is in need of attention by DGS, as shown in the photograph at right.

Bags were left for two of the 43 trees that were planted that appear to be unhealthy in this recent assessment. FFF will monitor their condition, and replace them if a qualified arborist recommends doing so.

Two different firms have contracts with DGS for Francis Field maintenance. Fort Myer Construction has the contract for the athletic field. Community Bridge has the contract for the park area between 25th Street and the athletic field.

Copyright 2019, Friends of Francis Field.