The battle over what to do with the open space at Armed Forces Retirement Home (aka Old Soldier's Home) has taken an interesting turn. For background go here. A community non-profit has gotten into it and is proposing a new park - Washington Central Parks - on part of the space. The idea is to create three small parks: Fort Totten Park to the north, Old Soldiers’ Home Park in the middle and McMillan Park and Reservoir to the south and then thread them together with a linear park containing of a bicycle trail.
Looking at the map it appears to have a sizable trail network (assuming that's what the orange lines are). Though not mentioned on the site, it could easily connect into the Met Branch Trail at Fort Totten at the same point as the PG County Connector trail from the north. According to DCist
A good solution for the Armed Forces Retirement Home, however, would require a sufficient sum of money, something Washington Central Parks cannot currently offer.
“They haven’t come up with a way to pay for it,” said Chris Black, a consultant for the home.
Black said that leasing portions of the campus is the only way the Armed Forces Retirement Home will be able to meet the needs of its veteran residents. The home planned originally to lease the land being eyed by Washington Central Parks to commercial developers, though Black said it would be willing to lease the land for use as a public park if the price were right.
Washington Central Parks’s Anderson said the organization will be searching for funding in the coming months.
An article in the Wall Street Journal talks about the recent expansion of urban parks and how they do (and don't) get funding.
Federal money is still hard to come by. The Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that provides grants for state and national parks, will receive about $28 million this fiscal year, down nearly 80% from 2002. Another initiative, the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program, has not been funded in five years.
As cities increasingly rely on corporate donors, real-estate developers and private, not-for-profit entities for park funding, they're facing some criticism. When Chicago's Millennium Park, opened in 2004, named prominent areas after corporate sponsors such as SBC, Boeing and British Petroleum, some traditionalists cried foul. Several cities have recently devised guidelines for sponsorship and naming rights -- in Denver, a company has to contribute 50% of all capital costs to get its name or logo on a new park.
The area around the retirement home has a dearth of park space because the open space at the home was counted as a Park when the McMillan Plan came out, so this idea has some merit beyond the addition of bike facilities. Chris black never states how much it will cost to get the park built, but I know where to get the first $5 million.