Friends of McMillan Park Responds to Vision McMillan Partners (VMP)

Dear Ms. Anne Corbett,

The name of our group is Friends of McMillan Park. Through our petition, we represent the views of over 1,500 DC residents – a significant percentage of which live in neighborhoods that abut our City’s national landmark historic Olmsted park that your firm’s scheme would destroy. We gathered these signatures in 3 weeks merely from showing DC residents images of the historic structures and educating them on the history of the McMillan Park Reservoir Historic District (as the Site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places). For comparative purposes, we also show residents your firm’s renderings of its plan for 12-story office buildings, dense condos and townhouses, and a green space alongside images of an alternative proposal produced by Collage City Studio.

The 80-90% landmark destruction figure comes from the DC Historic Preservation Review Board’s (HPRB) comments provided at their 25 April 2013 deliberation on the VMP revised master plan and design guidelines. During this same HPRB hearing, your organization did not contest the 80-90% destruction figure or the statements by HPRB members in which they expressed concern about the high level of landmark demolition or how your scheme would alter the historic integrity of the Site, including by making the sand towers look like pylons down a highway. In fact, the National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) urged HPRB to reject of your plan, and we have seen no independent study showing that the underground caverns, which many of us toured as recently as last year, are unfit for preservation.

It is telling that VMP is unable to generate support for its scheme from DC residents and must resort to creative illustrations and deceptive marketing as well as your meaningless online survey that polls anyone and everyone on the Internet – anonymously – and allows respondents to vote as many times as they wish.

These facts are clear: DC residents want historic McMillan Park reopened for public use in a way that provides amenities while preserving the integrity of the Site’s historic above- and below-ground structures that characterize the Slow Sand Filtration Plant. We know that we can do much better than the scheme that your firm proposes for this amazing national treasure. We intend to make sure that our elected officials get this message.

Sincerely,

Friends of McMillan Park

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