For more than 20 years, the Friends of Chevy Chase Circle has worked with the National Park Service to keep Chevy Chase’s gateway to the nation’s capital stocked with tulips and looking like an inviting park.
Now, as three prominent members of the group move on and maintenance appears to arrive less frequently, the Friends of Chevy Chase Circle is looking for a new batch of Chevy Chase residents to take up the cause. If not, the nonprofit that started in 1991 and has raised more than $25,000 for improvements to the Circle might be dissolved.
“We feel it’s important to get some young blood who sees the park as we saw it 20 years ago, as a gateway to Washington and a source of pride for Chevy Chase,” said Friends of Chevy Chase President Barbara Price, who is moving into the District soon. “The idea was the Park Service was going to maintain it with additional monthly maintenance. That has diminished, even before sequestration. We need some new people to take on a new phase of stewardship.”
In the late 80′s and early 90′s, Price and other members of the group got donations from the Chevy Chase Land Company and other area businesses to pay for new plantings. They had a foundry in Canada produce a new fountainhead for the fountain in the middle of the Circle, which before was just a single spout of water shooting up into the air.
Under the auspices of the Chevy Chase Historical Society, the Friends of Chevy Chase Circle formed as its own nonprofit organization in 1991 and entered an Adopt a Park agreement with the National Park Service. It worked with a landscape architect from the Park Service, raised money for a new irrigation system and helped clean up the space.
Each year, it funds a new planting of about 2,000 tulips for the Circle by piggy backing onto the annual bulk flower order of the nearby Chevy Chase Club.
Price said lately, maintenance agreed upon with the Parks Service has been less frequent, and the Circle is reverting back to its pre-1991 days of neglect. The benches, for example, are in disrepair.
“It is kind of a slovenly accumulation of unkempt management,” Price said. “And it’s going to be worse than it looks now.”
With two other frequent members of the Friends group retiring from civic activities, Price is looking for someone to take over the group. The response so far has been quick. Price said two Chevy Chase residents called her on Tuesday morning, just after it was posted on a community listserv.
If you would like to speak with Price about the Friends of Chevy Chase Circle, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.