Two summers ago we were worried about how the Made in America Festival had impacted the local grounds, specifically at Von Colln Memorial Field at 22nd & the Parkway. The ball fields at the park that usually serve as home field for youths instead served as space for trucks and stages and heavy equipment. After the concert, the fields looked like they'd squared off against a stampeding herd and lost. Fortunately, the fields were cleaned up and repaired in relatively short order, thanks to a combination of government and concert funds.

Von Colln Memorial Field

Closer look

Though it recently underwent some significant repairs, Von Colln is slated for a bigger improvement project next spring to the tune of $1.5-2M. Designed by LRSLA Studio, the same folks who designed The Porch at 30th Street Station, improvements will include redoing sidewalks and lighting, perimeter planting, a new state of the art playground, and a renovation to the preexisting sports building. There are also plans to plant a dozen new trees, and add a landscaped sidewalk median, and bump-outs on 23rd Street to improve pedestrian flow.

Adjacent playground today

With the improvements comes the questions as to whether the fields will be used for future Fourth of July events. If the fields were trashed in 2012 after the festival, it seems counterintuitive to unravel an expensive project to update and restore the fields and then ruin them again in service of a future concert. We'll see what happens and hope for the best.

Skyline view

Improvements to Von Colln coincide with the City's More Park, Less Way vision, an action plan to animate and modernize the Parkway that was set out last year, and has included improvements like colorful landscaping and new paving, as well as the new Barnes Foundation (and don't forget the new parking meters). All this new work speaks to a vision for how to usher the Parkway into the twenty-first century.