Friends of McMillan Received a Very Upsetting Court Decision Today

Today we received the D.C. Court of Appeals’ decision stating that there is no impediment to the demolition proceeding at historic McMillan Park. This exhausts our legal arguments at this time against the demolition. The root of this decision is the recently passed DC law that states, quoted in the Court decision: 

Notwithstanding any provision of law, the development of the McMillan Site, . . . shall proceed expeditiously and without further delay through all phases of demolition and construction of the foundation of the community center consistent with the permits already issued by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, including Demolition Permit number D1600814 and Foundation Permit number FD1800040, and any extensions or reinstatements of, or amendments to, those permits, and other permits for the project.

We presented oral arguments before the D.C. Court of Appeals earlier this week and received the Court’s decision today, visible here as seen on the WBJ web page.

So, where are we now?

Our options to stop the demolition that is proceeding have been exhausted as far as we know yet we are watching closely for any other opportunity to take further action.  Some of us are in contact with members of the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee that is reviewing the D.C Budget Support Act until November 15th, urging that Committee to object to the McMillan language in the Budget Support Act, Act 24-176. Some members of that Committee have taken an interest in considering the introduction of a “resolution of disapproval” of the Act based on information that we have provided, and we will continue to engage the Committee members to that end. If the Committee does nothing, the permanent version of the Act that contains, in Title II, Subtitle R, of the legislation above, which was the basis for the Court decision against our efforts to challenge the demolition permit, will become permanent law. Right now that law is in effect but only temporarily, awaiting the end of the congressional oversight period.  Many of us have written to one or more of the D.C. Councilmembers asking the Council to rescind Subtitle R of the Budget Support Act.  We note that many of us have received responses from the Council Chair that are unsatisfactory, to put it mildly.  We have no idea if the Council can be expected to rescind that legislation or not.

Demolition of the McMillan caverns and the surface park is extremely disappointing and contrary to all for which we have worked. But the D.C. Budget Support Act did not extinguish the Federal Historic Preservation Act. It merely extinguished any impediment to the demolition, though there is but little consolation in that fact. We hope that we will be able to find additional ways to intervene in this outrageous demolition.  The Court’s decision does not exempt the city from its obligation to deliver the purported benefits of this development, though enforcing that would not bring back the caverns. 

We have only been able to continue the fight for all of these years because of your help and support. We do have outstanding legal bills, and we can of course understand your reluctance to contribute to these costs given that the demolition appears to be proceeding without any known way to challenge it. We are obligated to tell you that our efforts to stop the demolition at this moment have failed, which may well change your view of donating. However, if you are interested in continuing to contribute to our legal efforts, please note that our CrowdRise account recently converted to a new GoFundMe account: https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-mcmillan-park.

Today’s news is extremely difficult to absorb and digest. We will let you know if we find any reasonable challenge to the ongoing demolition, and we hope that the above information, though very upsetting, should not be reason to give up hope. 

Thank you for your continued interest and support!

If you have any questions, please contact restoremcmillan@gmail.com or call 202.213.2690.

Friends of McMillan Park is a 501(c)3 educational non-profit. Donations to this cause are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Friends of McMillan Park is now a part of the Amazon Smile program, allowing you to directly and automatically donate to the Friends of McMillanPark when you shop on Amazon.com.  See this link for more information:  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/46-0977224

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