Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hugh Youngblood's thoughts from Thursday night's McMillan meeting

See this 6/17/2011 message from ANC 5C03 Commissioner Hugh Youngblood:

Dear Fellow Members of the Community,

Thank you very much to everyone who joined for Thursday night`s Joint SMD Meeting on the McMillan Project. We greatly appreciate the level of energy that you all delivered to the discussion and your explicit calls for community action. I received the clear message that the community is ready to deploy its skills and dedication into an effort equivalent to the Manhattan Project with the mission of taking the power back and developing a plan for the historic McMillan by by the people and for the people.

Another personal takeaway from the dialogue was that you`ve lost faith in the ability of your elected leadership and the DC Government to serve as a neutral broker between the profit-motivated development team and the people who live here. This means that we need to tackle the ``McMillan Manhattan Project`` from a grassroots level, and we certainly have the talent required to get the job done.

I captured extensive notes last night comprising the wide variety of community concerns and construction design input. My office will work with the offices of SMDs 5C04 and 5C07 to produce a consolidated set of minutes and issues, which we will socialize with the community in short order. I`ll paraphrase a few of the highlights of the discussion now:

- We need to start operating like a business and go on the offensive in order to effect change. This means that many members of the community will need to take on this project as a full- or part-time job, likely without pay.

- We need to embrace the historical significance of this magnificent site and honor the role that it played in delivering the essence of life on this planet--clean water--to the DC community in the generation that preceded us. We need to establish a conservancy to serve as our vehicle for historic preservation.

- The time for action is now.

- What can we (the individual members of the community) do Right Now to get started?

I propose that we identify the answer to the question above as follows.

- Take a survey of all the skills and talents within the community members who wish to work on the project and identify the ways in which we would each most love to serve.

- With a basic comprehension of our talent pool, we design an aggressive summertime project to create a community design for the site. We can supplement any gaps in local talent by tapping into the summer internship market and by outsourcing pieces of the work electronically to the global open-source development community.

More to come. Please share your thoughts.

Thank you,

Hugh Youngblood
70 R St NW
240 . 925 . 1079

1 comment:

  1. John/James/Hugh/Tony et al (reposted),
    Thanks for the forum and continued attention to this subject which clearly demonstrated, if no other consensus has been reached, all can agree that this is a major issue that will certainly impact all of the adjoining neighborhoods. I look forward to your leadership in moving forward and certainly offer my time and energy.
    I've been thinking about some of the comments that were being made towards the end of the evening: going on the offensive, developing a neighborhood plan, etc. While I agree with being proactive, I'm not sure a comprehensive neighborhood plan isn’t perhaps a bridge too far and not quite achievable. I don't doubt the talents of the neighbors, however I do doubt the receptiveness of the city to evaluate such a plan in earnest – and likely throw the whole thing out if a couple of minor points are not to their liking. What I do believe is achievable and would be acceptable from the developers standpoint is perhaps a less robust product that clearly states the minimum conditions under which the ANC/MAG’s approval will be offered. This approach may a bit more amenable to people with disparate strongly held beliefs with a goal of putting all into a single consolidated plan. Those people who are concerned primarily with waste water may not be as concerned with a state of the art park; those people who are concerned with traffic may not be as concerned with waste water; those concerned with historic preservation may not be as concerned with traffic abatement – but we all may be able to agree to our minimum terms when looking at each of these subjects individually – and thus consensus.
    Here’s my recommendation. Establish an Objective and a Threshold within each of these independent concerns.
    Objective: The best-case scenario.
    Threshold: The minimum response that will ensure approval.
    State of the Art Park-
    Objective: A consolidated/continuous area that makes up 50% of the 25 acres and includes an encircling walking/running path; a closed in area for dogs of X acres; a baseball field, and is without a doubt permanently accessible to the public/all dc residents; Establishment of a park conservancy to be established with task of ensuring sustainment/management/access.
    Threshold: A consolidated/continuous are that makes up 35% of the 25 acres to include a combination of above.
    Traffic Abatement-
    Objective: An honest and conservative traffic assessment to include the additional projects within the area that will also be coming on line and will have a direct impact on the traffic volume and schemes within an X mile radius of MacMillan and reprioritization and acceleration of additional bus routes, trolley car tracks and brown line.
    Threshold: everything above to exclude the brown line.
    Historic Preservation-
    Objective: Inclusion of and presentation of the historical significance of the site to include use of XX number of underground infrastructure within or adjacent to the park reserve area?
    Threshold: Inclusion of and presentation of the historical significance of the site to include above ground infrastructure somewhere on the site.
    Waster Water Management-
    Underground Stream-
    Architectural Planning-
    Objective: An agreed to architectural “model” to which all “pads” must adhere to ensure an aesthetic consistency.
    I don’t know enough about the final three to even guess at what may be acceptable to the neighborhood but I hope you get the idea.
    While we may not be able to come to a consensus on all subjects at once, perhaps those who feel strongly can assist with establishing our minimum threshold for approval in their areas of concern. Then we can put them all together and voila – Consensus on a set of neighborhood terms which could be used by the Government and Developers to understand very clearly what their plan will need to respond to, at a minimum, for neighborhood approval.
    I hope this recommendation helps generate some ideas for the best way forward.
    S Street NW