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So I’m back. 

After spending part of last week in a city filled with gorgeous parks, I’m happy to report on what will hopefully become one of ours.

This particular winding oasis apparently has a long way to go. It has gone by a number of names before. Formally, it was Watts Branch Park. Then, it became Marvin Gaye Park (park pamphlet pdf here).

All along, some knew it simply as “Needle Park.” 

In the past, “there were junkies everywhere,” one commenter recently posted on this blog. “It still has some rough spots (an occasional prostitute or two in the early mornings),” another chimed in.  

But Marvin Gaye Park is a getting a multi-million dollar facelift. Late last month, I first heard about new playground equipment being installed at the park. And on friday, Mayor Adrian Fenty kicked off the $2.4 million first phase of construction at Marvin Gaye Park:

Specific park improvements at Heritage Green will include a community stage, playground, plaza, seat wall and tables, new shade trees, native trees, shrubs and ground covers in addition to the completion of a bicycle trail that runs throughout the park. The Lady Bird Johnson Meadows will feature improvements such as new park entrance plazas, a woodland garden, and new walkway, benches, lighting, trees and plants. A mosaic with Marvin Gaye’s image will grace the entrance of Lady Bird Johnson Meadows, in addition to other features that will be themed around the timeless hits of his storied music career.

Apparently, one of the long-term goals of the redevelopment is to create a “fishable stream within five years” inside the park.

Image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/nukeit1/ / CC BY 2.0

“>nukeit1, flickr creative commons