As part of its City of Peace Initiative, Columbia Heights is working with Somali immigrants and other residents to design and fund a City of Peace Park in a low-income area of the city. This project came on the heels of a federal arrest of a local Somali man for support of terrorist activities. The man lived in the Circle Terrace Neighborhood, a community in which 60 percent of residents are on government assistance.
The neighborhood, which was suffering from high crime rates and other issues, was first provided a park, then recreational equipment, followed by an effort to build a community center on site.
The Columbia Heights Police Department went door-to-door in the Circle Terrace neighborhood to talk with residents on what to include in the proposed park building. Residents were very enthusiastic about the building and asked that the building include recreation activities, educational programs and city outreach services, including community policing.
Following approval by the Columbia Heights City Council, the whole community is now engaged in a fundraising effort to make the park building a reality in 2016. The city has approached the county for permission to use CDBG money for the facility. Residents have signed petitions of support and the police department held a community picnic at the site of the building to bring greater attention to the project
Columbia Heights is an All-America City winner. For more information about the All-America City Award visit: https://www.nationalcivicleague.org/america-city-award/