Washington, D.C. may be known for its monuments, museums and marble-clad buildings, but those who know the nation’s capital best cite its alluring green spaces as chief among the city’s treasures. And just like D.C.’s historically, culturally and architecturally significant buildings require concerted preservation efforts, so, too, do the landscapes they anchor.
That’s why Balfour Beatty was proud to contribute to the revitalization of the East Capitol Urban Farm (Ward 7) located at 5900 E. Capitol Street in Southeast D.C. Through the 23rd annual District of Columbia Building Industry Association (DCBIA) Community Improvement Day, Balfour Beatty joined forces with David M Schwarz Architects, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gauthier Alvarado & Associates, Willow Oak Group, and Corenic Construction Group to coordinate the design and construction of a large section of the park. Like any construction project, the park refresh required significant upfront planning. The DCBIA Community Services Committee, which includes Balfour Beatty teammates Lisa Kline, Bill McIntosh and Andrew Williamson, dedicated approximately six months to organize the event. Thanks to their leadership and countless other servant-minded AEC professionals, this community amenity now has a fresh look.
The Balfour Beatty team — about 20 employees along with some local residents and students — worked on Zone 2, which encompassed a stage, a large sand pit, seating recycled from cut trees, a vine maze and trellises. The farm will include community garden space, exercise trails, a nature discovery area, public art, rain and pollinator gardens, a market place, and an aquaponics facility. University of the District of Columbia has leased the farm for three years with plans to improve urban farming techniques through development and research at this facility. As part of that vision, local residents will be able to grow their own produce in the community garden to distribute through local food trucks and sell at farmers’ markets, and kids will be able to enjoy the park and public-art space.
Balfour Beatty’s scope of work on the park included site grading, construction of a large sandbox, a stage and a large “bird’s nest” woven out of willow for creative play, landscaping, and installation of outdoor furniture and fencing. No project could be well-executed without skilled subcontractors, and this undertaking was certainly no exception. Subcontractor partners including Green Team Landscape Professionals, American Forests, Chevy Chase Contractors, Cheney Enterprises, Strittmatter Companies, Metro Earthworks and Ruppert Landscape generously donated materials and labor, which were crucial to the success of the project.
“This was an excellent opportunity for Balfour Beatty to give back to the local community,” says Lisa, who provided critical leadership on the committee. “We were able to use both our skills and local relationships to help provide this sustainable farm in Northeast D.C.”
Since launching Community Improvement Day, DCBIA has renovated more than 20 recreational parks and facilities in an effort to improve the quality of life for Washington, D.C. youth. This year more than 1,000 volunteers from multiple companies, neighborhoods and schools were involved in the project.
To read more about our team’s participation in the 2015 DCBIA Community Day event, click here.