Crispus Attucks Park

Welcome to Crispus Attucks Park!

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“The Cave Yard.” “The Secret Park.” Whatever you call it, it’s a unique space -- a private community park occupying the courtyard space behind a single city block of houses in Washington DC's Bloomingdale neighborhood. The long, narrow stretch of green space is bounded by the alleys of the North Capitol, U, V, and First Streets NW. Street signs on the nearby corners of First Street point residents in the direction of the park, or "Crispus Attucks Court." Access to the court is gained through four alley entrances or, for those who live on the park, from their backyards.

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Crispus Attucks Park is NOT not publicly funded park. It is maintained and supported entirely through private donations and volunteer labor. The park is owned by the nonprofit Crispus Attucks Development Corporation (CADC) on behalf of the surrounding homes. The District government has made the land free from real estate taxes in return for its use as a resource for the local community. The park’s unique status requires a balance: neighbors who live on the park appreciate the value to the community of having common green space, while all who use the park respect the property on which they are guests and help to keep it a true "community oasis". See "Rules for Park Use" below for more information.

The park is named in honor of Crispus Attucks, an African American former slave and the first person to lose his life in the Boston Massacre, heralding the beginning of the American Revolution.

Rules for Park Use

Crispus Attucks Park is an oasis of flowers and trees, open green spaces, quiet nooks and rocky pathways. The community is invited to enjoy the park and support its continued health, while recognizing that the park is used in many different ways by many different people. The following rules will help ensure that the park remains open to everyone and maintained in peak condition

Rule #1
All who use the park are expected to contribute to it in some way. Unlike other DC parks, Crispus Attucks Park is not maintained by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Maintenance is performed entirely by volunteers. Your contribution can be as simple as picking up litter in the park when you see it, or as involved as taking on one of the many Support Team roles (see Support Team). It costs about $10,000 per year to maintain the park, which must all be raised from private donations. We encourage neighbors who value, use or live near the park to donate annually to help pay for upkeep.

Universal Rules
  • Obey all posted signs
  • Leave the park as you found it…or better
  • Take back out whatever you brought in (take home your trash)
  • Do not bring or consume alcohol in the park
  • Respect the park-side neighbors – no loud noises after sunset
  • No unauthorized overnight camping
  • Do not park cars in the park or in the alleyway around the park
  • Assume that all DC laws apply to you while in the park
Pets in the Park (See Dog FAQs for more information)
  • All dogs must be kept on-leash at all times
  • Keep dogs in the part of the park designated for dog-walking
  • Do not allow dogs to disturb others in the park that may not like dogs
  • Pick up after your pet (scoop your poop)
  • Do not allow dogs to make excessive noise by non-stop barking
  • Dogs: Don’t make owners call your name over and over for 10 minutes
Events of 25 People or More
  • Contact the CADC Event Coordinator to obtain permission for your event
  • Bring your authorization letter with you to the event…just in case
  • Indicate that “no alcohol is allowed” on all your event promotions
  • Remember that more people means more noise; stay respectful
  • Be aware that the park is still open for general use by others
  • Consider private security if you expect more than 75 people
  • Conclude your event and clean up before sundown
  • Follow the Universal Rules above

Park Oversight – CADC

Crispus Attucks Development Corporation (CADC) is the nonprofit, 501(c)3 community development organization that owns and oversees Crispus Attucks Park on behalf of the community. CADC is an all-volunteer organization. Nine volunteers currently serve on its Board of Directors. According to CADC’s by-laws, there is a maximum of fifteen seats on the board. Board members serve three-year terms, while officers serve one-year terms. At least two-thirds of the board consists of people who live on one of the streets surrounding the park. The board meets a minimum of four times each year, and sometimes more frequently if necessary.

Day-to-day operations and issues are generally managed by the board’s volunteer officers: President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. Broader issues about park policy or substantial physical changes to the park (e.g., dog zones, grants for park improvements) go to the full board. Board meetings are open to all neighborhood residents and are typically announced by email to the park mailing list, the Bloomingdale listserv, and on this website.

CADC goes through periods of more or less intense activity depending on the level of interest and energy that its volunteers bring to it. At its most active, CADC has been a second (and unpaid) full-time job for some board members and officers, who have made extraordinary achievements on behalf of the community (a few examples: shepherding legislation through the DC Council to reestablish legal control of the park; securing many thousands of dollars in grants for major park improvements including an irrigation system and massive planting/landscaping projects; doing outreach to the community and organizing community events in the park).

But throughout the park’s history, even during periods of fewer organized activities and volunteer outreach by the board, much of the park’s progress has been from homeowners who live on the park tending to the park, particularly to the areas just behind their houses. Residents interested in landscaping sections of the park should consult the guidelines for physical development of the park developed by the board in consultation with the community.

CADC is always looking for new volunteers, including new board members. Prospective board members should have demonstrated a sustained commitment to the park through contributions of volunteer time, monetary donations, or other forms of support. Please Contact Us if you think you might be interested in getting involved.

Current CADC board members are:

Patrick Blais (President)
Will Gomaa (Vice President)
Gustavo Seinos (Treasurer)
Austin Pearl (Secretary)
John Corea
Marilyn Lashley
Tyrone Goodwyn
Grace Haskins
Reginald Parrish
Mark Rauschenberger
Crystal Sayles
Molly Scott
Joan Smith
Tynesia and Derrick Smith

Not all the work is done by the board, however. CADC relies heavily on volunteers from throughout the neighborhood for nearly all of its projects and activities.