Just when Rose Park’s Wednesday-afternoon market became the happening of the week — with a record 730 people shopping at the two dozen food and specialty-retail booths on Sept. 23 — word comes that the market has to move. The District Department of Parks and Recreation has fenced off the entire north end of the Georgetown park to begin a long-planned upgrade of the playing fields and community-event area along 26th and P Streets.
“The Wednesday market will be moved to the basketball courts at the corner of 26th and O Streets NW, probably till the end of October, when daylight savings time ends and the market closes for the winter,” market manager Allister Chang told The Georgetowner.
The market was reconfigured in June by a new Friends of Rose Park board led by President Gail Daubert and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Gwen Lohse. From a few stalls along the sidewalk on 26th Street, it was reshaped into a circle occupying a good half of the north park, with a monitored entrance and a separate exit. Volunteers were on hand from 3 to 7 p.m. to promote mask wearing and social distancing. New businesses have been introduced and each week a different nonprofit has been invited to host a table with educational materials about its projects.
“As Georgetown began to phase out of total shutdown, the market’s growth has boomed, as has use of the park.” Lohse said. “But the turf in the park is not level. In fact, it is full of holes and dirt patches — that become small mudholes that my 6-year old and her friends love to splash in with their rain boots after a storm.”
Now DPR, which owns and manages the north end of the park (the National Park Service oversees the south end), plans to strip off all the turf and level the entire area. “Twelve zones of irrigation will be installed with sunken heads and individual valves that also will connect to new drinking fountains in the park,” Lohse said. “A permanent softball diamond will be laid out and, as I understand it, the entire grass area will be regraded and aerated. Then a new kind of Bermuda grass that has been bred for high-use parks will be laid.”
DPR spokespeople will attend ANC 2E’s October meeting, to be held virtually on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 6:30 p.m., to answer questions about the project, according to Lohse. A resolution regarding the Rose Park field upgrade will be considered by the full commission.
At the relocated market on Wednesday, Sept. 30, CVS pharmacy will again be providing free flu shots for those with applicable insurance.