Volta Park Baseball Diamond Renovation Set for 2024
By December 4, 2023 0 344•
A very lively, civil and informed meeting between DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) officials and Volta Park users on Nov. 26 at the Georgetown Public Library answered many questions about the until-now stalled renovation of the Volta Park baseball field — and posed a few new ones.
The baseball diamond in Volta Park is an icon of Georgetown history. Nothing has changed much since then except that the benches are increasingly degenerating, and the playing field is slowly eroding. Plans for its renovations have been on the books for years with a final budget approved in 2022 for $700,000. The needed reconstruction was scheduled to begin in fall 2023, but the park was once a burial ground. “Extensive archeological work had to be done to ensure that no graves from the old cemetery would be disturbed,” said Christopher Dyer, DPR Community Engagement Manager.
The plans deal basically with three issues. First is the undisputed need to repair the baseball diamond. The playing field will be completely resod. The backstop, benches and stands will be repaired but remain basically the same.
The second focus of the project is to manage the water runoff through the playing field that is causing erosion and mud throughout the area. The plans are to construct a multilayer deep “French drain” across the middle of the park running east-west and then turning south to link into a city storm water drain.
The third focus that produced the most questions and concerns by the very well-informed audience was the construction of a fence that would separate the picnic and family areas in the mainly north-west area of the park, from the baseball playing field. The fence would protect especially small children and the numerous dogs that families bring to the park from running into baseball players. It will be four feet high and have two gates onto the field that will remain closed, even locked, most of the time. A new ramp will be constructed as an access path for wheelchairs, strollers and picnic wagons from the upper 34th Street entrance down to the northwest corner.
The fence raised honest controversy. The city sees the park as a public baseball diamond with a park. Many in the community see it otherwise. D.C. also frankly identified that many users also see that area as an unofficial dog park where dogs can go unleashed; but it is not, and they cannot legally. A low closed fence would make it legal at least to allow dogs in the area.
The only issue where Saraya Arnold, president of the Friends of Volta Park, got the project DPR Landscape Architect Peter Nohrden to promise a call back, concerned leaking retaining walls along Volta Place during rains.
The permit procurement process is now under way. DPR expects the project to have approval and contracts to begin perhaps in spring 2024.