Source: Official U.S. Navy Photograph (collections of the National Archives)
The history of development along the Anacostia River dates back to 1963. The acres of land belonged to US Navy prior to 1963, and then it was returned to the General Services Administration. The acres of land belonged to US Navy prior to 1963, and then it was returned to the General Services Administration. After 1963, the government cleaned up the land, built the Department of Transportation, and sold it to private developer Forest City Washington, Inc. in 2005 for mixed use development. Yards Park’s is the result of the Southeast Federal Center Public-Private Development Act of 2000 which the General Services Administration (GSA) awarded 42-acres to Forest City Washington for mixed-use redevelopment. The park is part of “The Anacostia Watershed Initiative, a large planning effort by the District and others, envisioned a waterfront park at the center of the redevelopment of this new mixed-use development.”
The park was designed by M. Paul Friedberg and Partners and has won many Architecture and Urban Planning awards. After the park’s completion, it is maintained for the District by the Capitol Riverfront BID through the “District foregoing a portion of sales tax on the adjacent Lumber Shed restaurants, but also from private contributions, program sponsorships and lease revenue for events held in Yards Park.” Today, although the park is owned privately, the park website notes that it is always open and accessible to the public.