MARYLAND

Friendship Heights proposed playground has some residents upset

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FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS, Md. (WJLA) - The idea of a new playground in one Friendship Heights neighborhood at first had people excited. But that quickly changed when they saw what the playground would look like.
Now city leaders are responding to the criticism.

“Well I was happy that there would be a playground," says Peg Downey, who has lived in Friendship Heights for 10 years. "I was happy there would be something for the younger kids,” she says.

But some drawings changed Downey's mind.

“Beyond tacky,” she says.

There is now outrage from over 150 residents who signed a petition, angry over the scope and size of the playground the Friendship Heights Village Council planned to build.

“I would just like it to be more organic and fit in with the surroundings,” Downey says.

Residents are not only concerned about the plans of the massive playground, they’re also concerned about what they call a focal center of the park, a tree that could possibly be cut down.

Kim Igoe lives in the building across from the park and feels plans to build the playground were pushed through without significant public input.

“It just overwhelms the rest of the park,” she says.

She is not opposed to the playground, but wants the Village to really think about its size.

“We need to co-collaborate to make it happen early on,” she says.

Alvan Morris, a Councilmember, has been pushing for the playground and says the sketches were never meant to be the final plans.

“Quite frankly, I found it a little overbearing, too,” Morris says.

Morris says new drawings are currently being sketched. Colors will be muted so the playground fits in with surroundings and the tree will not be removed.

“We have tried in any way we can to listen carefully to them and compromise where is necessary,” Morris says.

New drawings will be unveiled by the Village on Feb. 18. The hope is that people will drop by so they can talk about what they like and don’t like.

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