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Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Other Officials Cut Ribbon on Joseph H. Cole Community Park Project

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(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today celebrated the third phase of renovation and expansion of the Wheatley Education Campus by cutting the ribbon on the new Joseph H. Cole Park, which includes an outdoor park, field, playgrounds and a summer “spray-ground.” Along with members of the Ward 5 community, Mayor Gray was joined by other government officials, including City Administrator Allen Y. Lew, Department of General Services (DGS) Interim Director Brian Hanlon, and Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Jesus Aguirre.

“Combining the state-of-the-art equipment with several green features that will lower energy costs in the facility makes the Joseph H. Cole Community Park a truly wonderful addition for the children and families of the Trinidad community to enjoy,” Mayor Gray said.

Wheatley Education Campus received a full modernization and addition. The first phase of the project included the modernization of the elementary school and playground in 2009, followed by a new community center facility in 2010. The third phase of the project includes the new addition of the Joseph H. Cole Park. It replaces the antiquated Joseph H. Cole Fitness Center, which was demolished in spring 2011 to make way for the new park.

The new park features walking paths, flower gardens, a picnic area and a community terrace. The park also includes a new summertime “Spray Ground” water park, a “Tot Lot” playground for children ages 2-5, and a state-of-the-art artificial turf playing field for the school and community to share.

“As we have done in a number of modernizations, while we are working to provide communities with new state-of-the-art features in our facilities, we are also focused on preserving the stately and historic trees which help define the Trinidad community,” said Lew.

The new park also includes several “green” features, including new light fixtures which use 80 percent less power than standard lights and will last for 10 years, lowering energy costs. The park also utilizes native plants and landscaping, which require less water, and new shade trees which will grow tall and help cool the park during the summer.

Joseph H. Cole retired in 1976 after 10 years as the DPR director. Mr. Cole served as a civic leader and a driving force to establish and improve the District’s recreation programs and facilities for 40 years, and was the first African-American director of any District agency. After he passed away in 1993, the fitness center at Wheatley was dedicated to Mr. Cole.

“DGS is excited to have partnered with DPR to present the new Joseph H. Cole Park to the Trinidad community,” said Brian Hanlon, new Interim Director of DGS. “We are also proud to rededicate this park in Mr. Cole’s name today, so that his memory will live on for generations.”

For more information on DGS and the new Joseph H. Cole Playground, visit