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I finally made it to the Yards Park yesterday, as taps played at the Navy Yard next door. It’s an elegant space, with a harmonious balance of surfaces, elevations, places to sit and run around. Workers at the neighboring Department of Transportation headquarters must be the luckiest federal staffers in the country.
But the most important target audience of the new park aren’t the bureaucrats who already work nearby. Really, it’s the people and businesses who might have been thinking of moving to the area, still bereft of much street life several years after the Nationals Ballpark was supposed to lead the neighborhood’s renaissance.
A public place to spend time comfortably outside, after all, is more of an amenity than a stadium that hosts stampeding crowds a few times a week during part of the year. Retailers are already betting on the park as a draw: Forest City says one of its buildings is already 60 percent leased, which is a pretty good rate for this stage in the game. And if visitors to the park feel the same way I did, the 2,800 units of housing planned for the area will be a lot easier to fill.