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City Asks: What's in a Park?

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The showdown in Oregon Hill arose in large part because many parks are not labeled as such by the city's zoning department. Often what some residents may consider their neighborhood parks are considered "surplus property" by the city.

If an open space of land has traditionally been used as a park, Tiwari's department can officially designate it as one, thereby protecting it from being sold as surplus property. If a neighborhood group wants to establish an area as an official park although the open space hasn't been labeled as such, City Council has the power to designate it a park.

Those enjoying traditional, official city parks like Byrd or Monroe need not fret: "The vacant property list doesn't have any parks listed there," Tiwari says. "We know the parks. It's these surplus parcels that's the issue."

The department will complete its parcel review by fall, Tiwari says.

— David

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