Here are three recent posts from the Historic Washington list.
1) From: M. Farrell McCoyTo: HistoricWashington @ yahoogroups. com
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 4:03 PM
Subject: Re: [HistoricWashington ] Website for McMillan development plans
One doesn't ``develop`` a park designed by the Olmsted firm, one restores and maintains it. Can anyone think of another city in the nation that would fence off an Olmsted Park for 60 years and then talk about paving it over with buildings?
Mary Farrell McCoy
2) From Jeff Soule
The piece that Frederick Olmsted, Jr. had anything to do with was the promenade around the reservoir, not the filtration site which was not designed as a public park. It would be nice if the Promenade were open again, but due to security issues, that seems highly unlikely. I think that many people believe that the sand filter system worked naturally, but in fact they started adding chlorine to the water as early as 1928. It`s a nice piece of engineering for its time, but not worth the apotheosis that many confer on it. The new public spaces created in the plan for the redevelopment will be a vast improvement in combining the historic features with real public access and more importantly adjacent uses to enliven them.
3) From Stronghold resident Kirby Vining
Three residents of the McMillan site area testified today at the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development budget hearings, asking in different ways for a closer look at the procedures followed (rather not followed) in how this plan came to be. Here`s my testimony, which is now in the public record.
Mr. Chairman, I am Kirby Vining, long-time resident, voter, and taxpayer in the Stronghold community facing the McMillan site, and while I am a member of all the various groups in my community discussing the future of McMillan, I speak today in an individual capacity.
Item EBO AMS11C of the 2013 budget of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) requests $50 million for the ``redevelopment, `` which I take to mean demolition, of the McMillan Sand Filtration Site in preparation for the Mayor`s plan for ``redevelopment`` of that site. You have heard in several recent meetings about certain real or perceived problems with the proposed development of the McMillan Site, including lack of community support, lack of transparency in the awarding of the project in an apparent case of bypassing the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, and general concern that this historic parkland, designed by the founders of the field of landscape architecture and urban design in America who designed the Capitol grounds and many other iconic landscapes in Washington, is not being given the proper consideration such a site deserves, to explore less destructive ways of keeping what is valuable of the site. The topic of the currently proposed development of the McMillan site is confrontationally controversial to say the least.
But today I would like to focus your attention on the item in the DMPED 2013 budget.
This item is a relic of the Fenty Administration and the Ward 5 Council term of Councilman Orange. In 2007 the city took a property for the stadium project and gave the McMillan site to the now-defunct NCRC from whom in turn it devolved to the ``understood`` developer in a land swap compensation deal. This set in motion several years of budget allotments for the project, including $1.34 million in consultancy fees to generate a design, and now a proposed $50 million to demolish much of the site in preparation for redevelopment. But this has put the cart before the horse. The District is currently both developer and owner of the site, no vertical developer has been named formally, the land has not been surplused, and the litany of required approvals from the Historic Preservation Review Board, the Zoning Board, etc., have not yet been obtained. Yet funds to demolish the site in preparation for redevelopment have already been requested.
I think it obscene that in such tight budget times our fair city has $50 million spare dollars of taxpayer money to give to any developer for any purpose. Viable developments pay for themselves. Why shouldn`t this one? The question of what development of the site would be most appropriate is a separate matter, though no less important. The proposed development is fine in all regards except the specific location and the extraordinary amount of city money being requested for it.
Given these fiscal and procedural flaws in the McMillan Site development project, I hope that you will pay particular attention to both the costs and implications of this project, for the sake of both the budget and the neighborhood, and consider whether this proposed project is still appropriate for our city.