Friday, April 06, 2012

argument for a park at McMillian Reservoir

See this message from Bloomingdale resident Rene Albacete:

The minute I started reading this article about racial disparities in park acreage, the McMillan Reservoir came to mind. Sure, we have many large open spaces in the vicinity of the reservoir, but none of it is available for public use. Can you really compare our small triangular pocket parks (which are afterthoughts since they are not suitable for development) and occasional two-to-three acre park to Rock Creek Park`s 1,754 acres?

Viewed in this light, requesting a 25 contiguous acre public park is not an unreasonable request. Further, the unique historical character of the site provides an opportunity for creative park development. New York City`s Highline, Seattle`s Gas Works Park, and Germany`s Duisburg Landscape Park are examples of creative, thinking which transformed abandoned industrial facilities into community assets. Many say that the city`s current plans for McMillan is a done deal and that a compromise is in order to minimize the impact to the community.

I say No.

If the bulldozers are not pushing dirt, it`s not too late to push for more. Let`s not forget, this proposed development is an integral part of a monumental corridor in the nation`s capital, which some consider the capital of the world. Mundane development along the long-neglected North Capitol corridor in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol Building is absolutely short-sided and unacceptable.


  1. Rene - What article about park acreage are you referencing?

    Reminder - Community meeting about McMillan on Saturday!

  2. I think this is thoughtful and realistic. I think that the majority of Bloomingdale's residents support a thoughtful development of the site. But honestly what VMG is handing us is a clone of Shirlington and Columbia Heights and all those unimaginative "city in the suburbs" or "suburbs in the city" places. The inescapable conclusion here is not that it's a matter of vision, the landscape architects are among the most talented in the country (look at their other projects)'s the limitations put on it by the developer and the city... this is designed to be a money maker pure and simple. And thus the plan's mediocrity. So, realistically, any visionary development of the site is going to need at least to be partly funded by gov't or by a foundation whose goal is not to make money. That's the reality. The unfortunate thing is that this is a waste of a spectacular opportunity. Imagine if they'd filled Rock Creek with condos and office buildings... at least someone back then had a vision of a beautiful space in the city.

  3. $60 million dollars are needed to make it a park. Most expensive parkland in the world at that price, and who will be paying to maintain this park in the future your taxes? Ask the residents in Dc if they want to pay more to maintan this $60million park? I think you might get a resounding NO! Bring the balanced development now!

  4. Well, i understand your comment. I think probably it shouldn't be the District supporting it. It should be part district, part federal and part foundation funding. And sure, why not we can have some businesses there too. What I don't like is turning this into a spitting image of Columbia Heights or Shirlington. Balanced development is a good idea for it. But this is certainly not balanced....look at the housing versus the green space... it's obviously intended to be a money maker first.

  5. Please consider starting a petition targeting key decision-makers on this project. The petition could be shared on blogs and the bloomingdale listserv.