Friends of McMillan Park is urging Councilmember Muriel Bowser, chair of the Council’s economic development committee, to formally ask Mayor Gray to hold an international design competition to select the best proposal for adaptive reuse of the historic landmark McMillan Park Sand Filtration Site. Members of FOM are testifying at the hearing the Councilmember is holding on Tuesday, September 24th and will make this request in person.
“Our hope is that open competition will produce a plan that both preserves this national landmark Olmsted park and encourages a sophisticated development taking advantage of the site’s many unique qualities, such as the breathtaking vaulted arcades in the underground filtration chambers,” said Anna Simon, a Bloomingdale resident and member of the Friends. “We are asking for Councilmember Bowser to help stop the suburban-like, cookie-cutter development plans proposed by the Gray Administration and open up McMillan’s future to the best, most creative thinking possible.”
The Mayor, via his Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, is pushing the destruction of McMillan Park via a multi-million-dollar, sole-source, no-bid development consulting contract awarded to Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) (a consortium consisting of Trammell Crow, EYA, and Jair Lynch). This contract violates best practices regarding open bidding on public development projects. The Mayor’s plan also includes hundreds of millions of dollars of cash subsidies to the private developers in addition to the proposed sweetheart giveaway of invaluable public parkland. To make matters worse, in an effort to maximize profits, VMP has gutted the Mayor’s plan of senior and affordable housing.
FOM has collected over 4,500 handwritten signatures (about half from Ward 5) on a petition to save McMillan, one of DC’s first de facto integrated parks. The Mayor’s plan for McMillan Park includes 12-story buildings and minimal park space, which would lead to traffic gridlock and increased neighborhood flooding.