A memorial to Brown, known as the “Godfather of Go-Go,” was quickly planned after his death on May 16, 2012. Marshall Moya Design LLC was selected to design the park and its amenities, and more recently, an interactive installation (“Wind me up, Chuck”) from Takoma Park artist Jackie Braitman was selected to front the park.
The $1 million, 65,760-square-foot Chuck Brown Memorial Park will be a part of Langdon Park in Northeast D.C, between 18th, 20th and Franklin streets. It will feature a public plaza and an inscribed memorial wall of Brown’s musical timeline and discography.
Along pathways throughout the park, visitors will be able to learn about Brown, while enjoying a central plaza bordered by rain gardens and terraced seating. There will be be interactive instruments — varied cultural drums, xylophones, bongos — that connect the memorial to the existing playground, brightly colored benches and light fixtures, magnolia and cherry trees and newly paved sidewalks.
“[The] Chuck Brown Memorial will serve as a communal space for visitors, offering a soothing outdoor experience,” according to a description provided to the NCPC. “The venue celebrates and embraces Brown’s influence on popular music, while profiling the history and legacy of the iconic musician.”
The original park design called for a 200-seat amphitheater, but that amenity was ruled out amid neighborhood opposition, to the dismay of many Brown fans.
A ceremonial groundbreaking for the memorial was held last August, but very little has happened so far. A demolition permit was issued, but building permits remain under review by local and federal officials. The park in scheduled to open late summer.