Councilmember Bowser Urged to Push for Competition on McMillan Development

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.

Bloomingdale Flooding


McMillan Emergency! Please Contact Your ANC about a Vote Tonight to Approve the Mayor’s Plan!

Dear Residents of Single Member District 5E07,
We learned yesterday that a last-minute change to the ANC’s agenda for this evening has Comm’r Dianne Barnes of SMD 5E09 moving to get the ANC to vote in support of the current Vision McMillan Partners plan for the development of the McMillan Sand Filtration Site.  Because you are among over 275 residents of your single member district who have expressed opposition to that plan and a desire for a much more exciting, community-oriented plan, I am writing to ask you to contact your Commissioner, Wanda Foster, and ask her to vote AGAINST any motion in support of the VMP plan.
The vote is tonight so please contact Comm’r Foster today by either e-mail ( and or phone (202-440-9253).  However you reach out to her, please let me know so that we can keep track of contacts with Comm’r Foster.  Also if you are a member of the Bloomingdale Civic Association, you may also contact Comm’r Teri Janine Quinn of SMD 5E06 who is also President of the BCA and who will be voting tonight, that you oppose this effort to gain support for the VMP plan and would appreciate her voting against any motion to support it.  Comm’r Quinn’s e-mail address is  Just let her know that you are writing as a concerned citizen of Bloomingdale.  And if you are not a member of the BCA, please considering joining today so that you can vote in next month’s BCA elections of officers.  You must be a member by this week to be eligible to vote (Bylaws states that to vote in an election, a person must have been a member for at least 30 days before the date of elections, which this year is Oct. 21).
You can make a difference in the future of McMillan today with a single call or e-mail.  If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.
Many thanks for your help and continued interest in this critically important neighborhood project.
John T. Salatti
(202) 986-2592“Together, Building a Better Bloomingdale”

Saturday’s Town Hall Meeting Brings Together Neighborhood

Held in St. Martin's Church on North Capitol Street, the town hall attracted some 100 attendees.

Held in St. Martin’s Church on North Capitol Street, the town hall attracted some 100 attendees.

Saturday was a great rally, updating people on what’s happening in the quest to preserve McMillan Park. “I hope that everyone was inspired to keep up the hard work and find new areas of interest to advance the cause of saving McMillan,” wrote a supporter afterward.

Take a look at the slide presentations from the meeting to find out what happened.



McMillan Park Town Hall:

Community, Elected Officials to Hear Objections, Alternatives to

Gray Administration Plan

McMillan Park Town Hall Mtg Flyer - Color - Smaller

On Saturday, September 14th, from 3 to 5pm, Friends of McMillan Park will host a town hall meeting at Saint Martin’s Catholic Church at 1908 North Capitol St. NW, (Pioneer Room). The meeting will provide an opportunity for the community and invited elected officials (Gray, all DC Council Members including mayoral candidates; Evans, Bower, and Wells) to educate themselves about the site’s history, Mayor Gray’s development plan, and the objections and alternatives to those plans for the McMillan Sand Filtration Site.

Speakers at the meeting will address McMillan Park’s rich history dating back to the turn of the 20th century, explain in detail the administration’s development proposal and its negative impacts, and highlight creative alternatives that the Mayor has yet to consider. The event will also include a focused discussion of the issues, followed by an opportunity for questions from the community during the second half of the meeting.

FOM, in close collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers, had planned to host a tour of the Reservoir side of McMillan Park the morning before the Town Hall meeting to familiarize the community with the beauty and historical significance of the site’s structures. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts postponed those plans until later this fall.

“Our goal for the town hall meeting is to help educate every concerned citizen who will be affected by whatever happens at McMillan Park about the potential impacts. We want every resident of the surrounding neighborhoods to be fully informed about the Mayor’s plan, and we want them to know that there are many other options for developing the site beyond what the Mayor proposes. A broad array of adaptive reuse projects from around the globe serve as examples of creative alternatives for transforming McMillan Park into a world-class destination,” said Hugh Youngblood, a member of the Friends and a former ANC commissioner for southern Bloomingdale.

Friends of McMillan Park opposes the Mayor’s plan for the site because it calls for over-development, high-rise buildings, and would create grid-lock traffic for the area.

Wells Stresses McMillan Alternatives in Meeting with Advocates

Walkable City

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.