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The Grassroots Success of a Plan to Turn an NFL Stadium Parking Lot Into Playing Fields
"Starting this fall (if the permitting process goes smoothly), parking lots north of RFK Stadium are scheduled to be converted to playing fields," reports Bob Coomber.
The story of how the project came to be is remarkable, to say the least. Parents looking for new places for their kids to play soccer came up with an idea to turn the parking lots into soccer fields. "The group of parents decided to call their idea the Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park, or 'CRYSP,'" according to Coomber. The CRYSP parents got the neighborhood behind it, then their local councilmembers, and then Events DC, the entity that owns the land.
Eventually, the quality of the proposal won out. "The stadium and CRYSP could cohabitate the 190 acres of the RFK site. The city could save money on impervious surface fees by introducing acres of pervious playing fields instead of impervious pavement. Plus, the area is in a floodplain, which means that habitable structures aren’t really an option," according to Coomber.
The designs for the final product have changed some; an international architect eventually joined the team. But, the first item on the list for the future of the site remains playing fields.