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Anacostia Park celebrates 100th birthday, receives $861K grant

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One-hundred years ago, on Aug. 31, 1918, Congress preserved a stretch of land along the Anacostia River as a national park. On Friday and Saturday, to mark the centennial of that event and highlight Anacostia Park’s offerings, the National Park Service will throw a two-day birthday bash at the 1,200-acre park, which runs from the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge on South Capitol Street up to the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Northeast.

The occasion will feature music, arts and crafts, boating and canoeing, yoga, a bike tour, and a “disco skate party,” among other activities. It kicks off with a go-go concert at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at the Anacostia Park Skating Pavilion, located at 1500 Anacostia Drive SE.

“A lot of people don’t know or recognize it as a national park,” says National Park Service spokeswoman Pya Langley. “It’s open to everyone. We want to make sure that people who visit the National Mall know that they can visit [Anacostia Park] while they’re staying here.”

The park has long served as a community amenity, hosting family reunions and picnics. In recent years, as the health of the Anacostia River has improved, it has increasingly become a place for water-based activities. The park has played an important role in national history too, says Langley. There, veterans protested in support of benefits, resulting in the G.I. Bill, and Langston Golf Course—which is part of the park—was an early haven for black golfers.

The park is also receiving a $861,000 grant to support community outreach and long-term philanthropy as part of a broader effort to revitalize the space, the National Park Foundation announced on Tuesday. The money will fund a new community liaison position “focused on connecting neighbors from D.C. Wards 7 and 8 directly to the park,” according to a release.

In addition, the grant will help pay for an assessment to find an anchor partner for the park who could spearhead future fundraising. While private partners support many parks across the U.S.—the Rock Creek Conservancy and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, for …

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