Councilmember Tommy Wells met last Tuesday morning with Friends of McMillan Park and stressed historic preservation, sustainability, education, and green space as important goals for McMillan Park’s future. Wells’ position contrasts with the Gray Administration’s plans for intensive development, plans that would bring high-rise buildings, gridlock traffic, and destruction of most of the historic park. Wells said that he wants to help FOM achieve its goals of preserving, restoring, and transforming McMillan Park, adding that good planning starts with good architecture, rather than with developers.
“It is important that we develop the McMillan site with the input and support of the community and in a manner that increases the ability of residents to live, work, and raise their families here,” said Councilmember Wells.
In the meeting with members of FOM, Wells remarked that since DMPED now prohibits the popular community-sponsored tours of McMillan Park, it is very difficult to educate residents and others about why the site should be saved. He offered to visit the site with relevant Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners to gain first-hand experience of the Park’s historic vistas and majestic underground caverns.
“We welcome Councilmember Wells’ commitment to a new path for McMillan Park—one that preserves our national treasure as a community park for the immediate neighbors, Wards 1 and 5, and the District as a whole,” said Tony Norman, Chairman of ANC 1B and the McMillan Park Committee, a close ally of the Friends. “We look forward to the tour that Wells has proposed as a first step to re-opening McMillan Park and the associated planning processes.”
Wells noted his opposition to constructing high-rise buildings at McMillan Park, in part because of the intense traffic that they would generate and the resultant negative impact on the walkability of the surrounding neighborhoods. Wells also remarked that he opposes raising the federal height limit for development in the District as there are still areas of the city open for growth and construction not yet being utilized.
Friends of McMillan Park plans to meet with the other mayoral candidates, as well as contenders for the DC Council.