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The infamous green/brown space behind Garrison Elementary is once again in the news. We’re talking about the field at the northwest corner of R Street and Vermont Avenue in Shaw. You remember—that’s where all those parishioners from Metropolitan Baptist Church used to park back in the day, before their parking became a huge civic issue in the late ’90s.
Every Sunday, the faithful would drive their big, shiny cars with Maryland tags onto this patch of land and leave them there for the service. Over time, the traffic essentially ruined what was supposed to be a baseball field for the neighborhood. The neighborhood started making noises about the injustice—how can all these out-of-towners trample precious play space for city kids.
Metropolitan Baptist preacher H. Beecher Hicks went divisive in response. Here’s what he said from the pulpit: “This conflict has to do with whites who come into black communities and who desire to take over. If the arrangement doesn’t suit white folks, it has to go.” The pews went wild.
That was the grace with which Metropolitan agreed to stop parking at the ballfield. Divisions notwithstanding, the hope was that the field would become a place where children would come and play ball, or something.
But no. It’s been taken over by the dog people, and according to this week’s issue of the Current, there’s pressure to make it an official dog park. Count me as an opponent.