Construction was completed on the first phase of the Georgetown Waterfront Park earlier this month, which is set to become the largest national park built in the District in the last 30 years.

The Georgetown Waterfront Park is located between the Washington Harbor Complex and the Key Bridge, only minutes from campus.

“Phase one transformed a parking lot into parkland, truly transforming the waterfront,” said Peter May, associate regional director of lands, resources and planning for the National Parks services. “Phase two includes some of the more exciting design features, but it is currently a park.”

The park features a large, grassy area, complete with park benches and a bicycle trail. The trail runs along the Potomac River and features special non-reflecting lamps.

“It definitely looks better now. The grass was dead before and there was more dirt than pavement in the area,” Grace Yeh (NHS ’10) said.

Although originally intended for bicycles, the space has become a destination for pedestrians. Blog posting on the TheWashCycle, a site sponsored by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, recently states that the trail was so filled with pedestrians it was unlikely that many would ever ride through it.

The second phase of the project will feature The Wisconsin Plaza, which will be located along the border of Wisconsin Avenue and the waterfront. The plaza will feature an interactive fountain, stairs to the river edge and an arbor overhanging park benches and tables, according to the Georgetown Waterfront Park Web site.

The overall project cost for phases one and two is projected at $17.5 million, May said. Phase two will need $9 million, excluding the costs of the design work, he added.

“Half of the funding for phase two is coming from the Centennial Initiative,” May said.

“The other half is coming from donations from the Friends of Georgetown Waterfront Park and from the city government.”

The Centennial Initiative, launched by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, is a restorative movement to prepare the national parks for the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service in 2006.

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