This Email exchange was lifted from the Historic Washington list at Yahoogroups, moderated by Mary Rowse.
Re: McMillan Sand Filtration May be saved if Gray Wins
Posted by: "Mehdi Mansouri" firstname.lastname@example.org
Thu Sep 2, 2010 10:01 am (PDT)
Our group of people against the current McMillan "City/EYA Plan" are not against development. We are against what I call "destructive development." We are in favor of responsible progress that would make the McMillan site functional-- to serve as many needs of our communities as possible--while preserving this magnificent, historical site.
We have an alternative plan that will fully preserve this site while converting it into a community center with all kinds of businesses, a shopping center, grocery stores, restaurants, entertainment, tourist attraction, park and green space, you name it. And all of that could take less than two years to complete.
At the same time, we have proof that the City/EYA plan will be a disaster for people in every conceivable way, especially financially, and only profitable for developers. There is not even one advantage in demolishing McMillan and building what the City wants to put in there--a mini city with 1,200 residential units and huge square footage of retail and business space with almost no green space, all without doing ANY studies about short and long-term cost/benefits of the "development" itself and its side-effects. None.
Everything the City claims to be a positive factor about their McMillan plan is exactly the opposite. And it is expected to take about 10 years (or more) to complete.
The City has also been keeping all important documents and all contracts top secret from people. City officials never answer any of our questions about any important aspect of their plan, such as what commitments the City may have made to EYA?
Instead they have tried to prevent us from asking questions and insisting on answers. Their efforts include harassment, framing up, wrongfully labeling some of us and lying to others about us (in my case alone they did all of the above plus contacting my employer and sending detectives to my door, just because I ask questions and insist on answers).
Yes, we hear that EYA has done "successful projects." This is what the City keeps saying too. But we need to define the meaning of a "successful" project for us--the people. At a minimum, a project that is considered successful for people in one part of the town may be disastrous for people in another part. That is exactly what is happening here. Just because EYA builds buildings that look good, doesn't make those buildings "successful" for people if they are built in the wrong location, or the wrong process is used to develop their plans, their construction, etc.
I agree that quality of life is something that many of us are concerned about. Just a quick snapshot related to quality of life: There are over 30 (and closer to 40 I am told) other mega projects happening just in Ward 5. Some of these projects are just a block or two away from McMillan. The City never talks about the combined side effects of all of these projects on our communities- -the impact on an already bad traffic situation, how high utilities and taxes will go up as a result, the impact on air quality as pollution increases as more cars and people come to the neighborhood, and as green space and parks (McMillan Park being one of them) disappear. DC is already at the top or close to the top of the list of metropolitan cities with the worst air quality.
Our goal is to stop the current developer-oriented plan and start making a new plan using scientific and commonsense methods. This is also a great opportunity to get the DC Government to be more transparent.
I am compiling a description of everything that is wrong with the City/EYA plan for McMillan and will be posting it to a website that I am developing for McMillan and DC Government issues. I will post the URL to this group hopefully within a few days.
I hope we can continue this discussion and address and analyze issues for our mutual benefit.
(202) 657- 6457
[mailto:HistoricWashington@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Paul Sieczkowski
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 9:39 PM
Subject: Re: [HistoricWashington ] McMillan Sand Filtration May be saved if Gray Wins
Saved? The development may move slower if Gray wins but what does saved mean? Its a neglected site. How does prolonged neglect equate to saving it?
There are definitely citizens that feel development of the site is warranted and that the current plans on the table are reasonable. All the EYA projects I've seen in the city are successful. This includes projects in Capitol Hill, the U Street area (two blocks behind Ben's chili bowl) and townhomes being erected a few blocks from the Nationals stadium.
This idea of what's best for the people is not shared by everyone.