D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, accompanied by members of her administration, community leaders and residents, celebrated the grand reopening Friday of Franklin Park in the city’s downtown.
Renovation of the project, which was the culmination of a partnership shaped in 2012 between the D.C. government, the National Park Service, and the Downtown DC Business Improvement District, was made possible by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s 2019 bill to authorize the mayor and director to enter cooperative management agreements for the operation, maintenance, and management of all NPS-owned properties in D.C., according to Bowser’s office.
“We knew that if D.C. government could renovate Franklin Park, we would be able to turn this park into something special for residents, visitors, and workers. And that is what we’ve done,” Bowser said. “The new Franklin Park is its own destination – a place for residents and visitors to enjoy and for workers to retreat to. This is the type of park you would expect to find downtown in our nation’s capital, and I want to thank Congresswoman Norton and our partners at the National Park Service and the DowntownDC Bid for making this possible. DC is open and now so too is Franklin Park.”
Operated by DowntownDC BID, Franklin Park occupies nearly five acres of land and is the second-largest NPS-owned park in downtown D.C., and will be a destination for residents, workers, and visitors in the heart of downtown where a list of robust programming including outdoor concerts, meditation sessions, Qi Gong, children’s music and dance, and more will be provided.
“I’m thrilled to see the new and improved Franklin Park reopening at last,” Norton said. “In 2019, my bill clarifying that D.C. and the National Park Service have the authority to enter into cooperative management agreements to invest in, maintain, and operate NPS land here was signed into law, allowing this project to go forward. We are fortunate that Congress created so many parks in the District, but because it never adequately funded them, D.C. stepped in to work with NPS and the DowntownDC BID to upgrade Franklin Park, adding a restaurant and pavilion, to enable the park to continue to serve D.C. residents and provide a safe space for the community.”