NBW was selected by the NoMA Parks Foundation to design a two-acre park in the NoMA (North of Massachusetts Avenue) neighborhood of Washington DC. The park is named after Alethia Tanner, a leader in the African American community of the District of Columbia in the early 1800s. Formerly enslaved, Alethia bought her freedom and at least eighteen others' by saving profits from selling vegetables at a market across from the White House. She was a business woman, owned real estate, and was a sponsor of education and religious institutions for the black community in Washington D.C. After a dynamic community led naming process, the decision was made to dedicate the park to Alethia Tanner and her lasting legacy in the neighborhood.
The park is located next to the historic Eckington neighborhood, along the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT), between two Metro Red Line stops. The design embraces and amplifies the location’s dynamic centrality creating a vibrant landscape and linking two thriving neighborhoods.
Historically, the site was a rail yard for trains traveling between Washington DC, Baltimore, and beyond. The design of the park reflects the energy of the site’s previous eras while providing diverse recreational spaces, amenities, and access to nature for current and future neighbors. Due to its former industrial use, remediation of site soils was necessary and provided an opportunity to educate visitors to various strategies for cleaning the soil, including phytoremediation - using plants in situ - for the removal, remedy, or containment of contaminants in soils.
Key park features include a large lawn to accommodate a summer movie series, shaded woodland plantings offering cool respite, a modern playground, picnic area, café, and dog park. The result of robust community input, the park is already becoming a cherished place for people to come together to re-energize, relax, learn, and play - Alethia Tanner Park is a dynamic community space for residents to call their own.
Collaborators: Studio Twenty Seven Architecture, Olsson & Associates, Cerami & Associates, Bowman Consulting Group, ECS Mid-Atlantic LLC, CMS Collaborative, Gilmore Lighting Design, Setty & Associates International PLLC, Architectural Playground Equipment/Richter Spielgeräte, Robert Silman Associates