Washington Park lower playground, picnic shelter, and recreation field
Washington Park sits on land deeded to the City in 1926 by Paul Goodloe McIntire to be used as a public park and playground. During the 2001 African-American Cultural Arts Festival, the park originally known as Washington Park was re-dedicated as Booker T. Washington Park. Booker T. Washington was a close friend of Charlottesville educator Benjamin Tonsler whom he met while in college. Those interested in reading more about Washington Park's history can find more information here.
The park (location) contains only 9.25 acres but remains one of the most heavily used parks. The park features a multitude of facilities for individuals of all ages, including a lighted outdoor pool with a wading area and bath house, 3 basketball courts (including a lighted court on the upper level), a recreation building with restrooms and a playground area. The sloping land drops spectacularly to a level plain far below where park patrons can enjoy a regulation softball field, basketball courts, multi-use field, picnic shelter and tot play area .
Washington Park is the site for the Annual African-American Cultural Arts Festival every summer. This family-oriented festival opens with a grand entrance by the Spiritwalker, dancers, drums and many other exciting performers. A wide variety of crafts, foods, community organizations and artisans set up stations throughout the park. The festival welcomes people of all backgrounds to listen to the storyteller, watch the performers, and discover more about local and national African American history and the contributions of African Americans to our community. Contact Leslie Harris-Scott at (434) 980-3164 for more information.
The new playground and picnic shelter were given to the City by the Dave Matthews Band. The drainage, seeding and grading for the third phase of the Washington Park renovations were funded by a generous grant by the Perry Foundation.
A wooden boardwalk, including a ramp for handicap access, have been added to make Washington Park's bog garden more accessible. Bog plants have survived remarkably well in spite of this season's drought. New plants have been added including both native and non-native bog plant varieties. Future plans include permanent plant labeling, educational brochure and bog garden walks to educate and involve the public in our unique mico-habitat.
Dogs must be on a leash and under control. Dog owners are required by city code to clean up after their dogs; a plastic bag dispenser is provided for cleaning up dog waste.
The park is open 6AM to 9PM. There are parking lots at both upper and lower levels.