Talking with Richard Lukas, he shares how this little park and garden make Capitol Hill feels like a small town. In a city that can sometimes feel a bit cramped, our Sunday morning visit to the 13th Street Park and Community Garden showed us a space that lets Capitol Hill stretch its legs a bit. Neighborhood volunteers – many with families in tow – showed us the ins and outs of maintaining the garden, revealing that the space is far more than a source of fresh veggies.
It’s a Friday night movie spot – most recently Moana was selected by popular demand. It’s where garden managers Ashley and Richard catch up to discuss the monthly volunteer roster. It’s where residents talk excitedly about being added to DC’s Monarch Trail with its newly planted butterfly weed, promising an influx of colorful monarchs next summer. It’s where the next potluck gets planned. It’s where neighbors mention their upcoming travels and get offers for mail pick-up duty while they’re gone.
Talking with Richard Lukas, he shares how this little park and garden make Capitol Hill feel like a small town.
How long have you lived and worked in Capitol Hill?
Since 2000 and moved to 13th Street neighborhood in 2004.
What do you love most about Capitol Hill and this neighborhood?
One of the things I love the most about Capitol Hill is that the residents really care about their community here. We see so many volunteers come out and give their time in many different ways to the neighborhood. Here at the 13th Street Community Park and Garden once a month we have anywhere from 10 to 20 neighbors come out and give an hour or two of their time. Weeding, cleaning up the park, and just getting to know their neighbors one-on-one.
What’s one place in the neighborhood most people don’t know about?
So even though I know and love the 13th Street Community Park and Garden, I would say a lot of neighbors don’t know that it’s actually a gathering space for everyone in the neighborhood. It’s technically owned by the DC Housing Authority, but the park is open to everyone. You can have a community garden plot if you get on a waitlist, we do movie nights once or twice a month in the spring, summer, and fall.
And really, we want more people to come out and help activate the park. Get to know your neighbors, the people that have been here a long time in the neighborhood and also the newcomers as well.
What makes your house a home?
So like many of us, I moved to Capitol Hill 20 years ago coming from a small suburban community, moving to the big city. And I was surprised that so many of my neighbors do the same things that I was used to growing up with. They take in the mail for me, sometimes they mow my lawn. I’m always surprised I can leave my door open and have neighbors stop by, knock on it, and feel welcome to just walk right in.
That’s what I grew up with and that’s what I love about Capitol Hill.
The 13th Street Community Park & Garden exists because of the hard work and dedication of neighborhood residents. There are numerous ways you can get involved and help keep this beautiful and welcoming space flourishing. Check the Facebook page and calendar for announcements about special events and gatherings in the park.
SUNDAY BEAUTIFICATION DAYS
Please join your neighbors on the second Sunday of each month to help with park cleanup and maintenance. Check the events listing for upcoming dates and meeting times.
PLAN AN EVENT
If you have an idea for an event that would benefit the park and the community, please contact the garden at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 13th Street Community Park & Garden is a registered D.C. non-profit corporation with IRS Section 501(c)(3) status, which makes your contributions tax deductible. We also welcome in-kind donations of gardening supplies or other materials.