Brightwood Park is enjoying a renaissance of its own that runs parallel to what’s going on in nearby Brightwood and Petworth. DC’s government has invested both in infrastructure and in small businesses in Brightwood Park, with Emery Recreation Center receiving a facelift and improved playground for local kids. Newer small business owners such as the Story family, owners of Three Little Pigs Charcuterie & Salumi, have enjoyed city investments and grant money from programs such as the Great Streets Initiative.
This all is happening while bigger neighborhoods have enjoyed major new improvements and development – Brightwood has opened both a new Walmart and Safeway, while Petworth’s Metro area has experienced a flood of rapid development and new housing options. Brighwood Park, as a smaller enclave nestled between the neighborhoods, still feels quiet and a bit more ‘local’.
Jason Story, owner of Three Little Pigs, says, “It’s really the people who live in this neighborhood coming once or twice a week who keep us busy. We know most of the people who come in on a first-name basis. When we opened the shop, we originally figured most of our business would come from destination shoppers from Baltimore or Alexandria who would be in DC for the day. ”
Story also said that he’s noticed more and more young families and lots of highly educated professionals who know enough to move in where real estate is cheap, “continued Story.
Roger Limoges, 39, a vice president at the U.S. Green Building Council, said he was attracted to Brightwood Park in part by a large pool of longtime residents, who he said lend the neighborhood a sense of stability.
“It’s a really diverse community, and living so close together in these rowhouses, there are lots of opportunities to engage with your neighbors,” said Limoges, who is also vice president of the Brightwood Park Citizens Association. “When you talk to the longtime residents, people are just really looking for the neighborhood to keep improving but not lose its history.”
Bigger things are coming for Brightwood park. The Walter Reed Army Medical Center is being redeveloped, with a mix of residential, retail and office space coming to the massive piece of land along Georgia Avenue. The City has improved the maintenance program for the neighborhood under pressure from residents, with street cleaning done regularly and trash pickup being handled much more consistently.