Soon it may become illegal to play sports and partake in other recreational activities on the Washington Monument grounds, as a ban has been proposed.The grounds of the Washington Monument are currently closed through 2018 as a turf restoration project is underway, however, when it reopens in 2019, sports and other activities may no longer be permitted on the property. The proposed prohibition of such activities is not a sure thing, however, as a public comment period is currently in place. The National Park Service, who owns the grounds, is also proposing an increase of the costs to play soccer, volleyball, football, kickball, and softball on its fields on the National Mall and in Rock Creek Park.
The current rate of the fees charged by the Park Service are very low and are set at the cost of processing such fees, some even only costing $7 for an entire season. If the rate hikes gain approval and are implemented, the fees would cost $30 hourly plus a processing fee of $10. The National Mall houses 24 fields, Rock Creek Park has four, and the Washington Monument has 15. The Park Service says the rate hikes will help to generate revenue to help with the upkeep of the turf and fields. Other events and activities will not be affected, such as the Spring Kite Festival and Fourth of July Celebrations, and will continue on the same terms as before. Unfortunately for some, the National Mall’s fields are used by companies and organizations which host social and league events on the grounds. Now many of those who use the fields may have to find new venues. However, groups such as the Sierra Club are expected to make their voices and opinion known during the public comment period. Just how effective opinions expressed against the proposed changes will be remains to be seen. Permitting was previously handled by D.C. Parks and Recreation, but as the properties' owner, the Park Service is set to take over and have the final say.