Marvin Gaye Park Revitalization

NRPA launched Parks Build Community in 2009, in order to draw attention to the core functions that America’s parks play in revitalizing underserved urban areas, and develop a model of sustainable community development for the U.S.

Playground Installation and Beautification

Marvin Gaye Park PlaygroundFor its kick-off project, NRPA collaborated with Washington Parks & People, George Mason University (GMU), and the Washington, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation to help revitalize Marvin Gaye Park in Northeast D.C., and improve the health and wellness of the local youth population.

Taking place at the outset of the project was the installation of a state-of-the-art playground for children, made possible by $400,000 in donations from Playworld Systems, Kompan, Playcore, and Surface America.  The partners also oversaw a cleanup and beautification of the surrounding area, and supported a number of education and job training programs for the neighborhood kids.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Dedication  

Marvin Gaye Park NRPA VideoIn August 2009, with support from the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, and student volunteers from American University, the partners held a special dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting, attended by hundreds of civic leaders and members of the local community. 

Keynotes included Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard K. Koh, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.)

Click here to view photos and video from the playground installation and launch.  

History of Marvin Gaye Park

Once dubbed Needle Park by local residents, Marvin Gaye Park had been undergoing a massive reformation, made possible by efforts from community members, civic leaders, partners, and local government.  For detailed information, download the Marvin Gaye Park Backgrounder and Fact Sheet.

Click here for a Biography of Marvin Gaye.

Please email Gina Cohen at with questions or to help with future projects.