Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2015 02:21:13 +0000
Subject: PRESS RELEASE: Bloomingdale Residents Appeal to Mayor Bowser on McMillan
THE FRIENDS OF MCMILLAN PARK
FOR RELEASE: March 24, 2015
CONTACT: Erin Fairbanks, firstname.lastname@example.org, 240-506-6777 @czarinamaude
Bloomingdale Residents Appeal to Mayor Bowser on McMillan
Eleven weeks into her term, Mayor Muriel Bowser was the featured guest at the Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting last week where she responded to pointed comments about the District’s controversial plan to develop the McMillan site along North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue NW.
Mark Mueller, a former ANC Commissioner for Bloomingdale, said neighbors were “tired of fighting” – not against each other as has been portrayed in the media – but against the District Government. Mueller, a scientist by profession, helped the community devise and conduct a rigorous survey of 1,000 residents in 2012, which showed overwhelming opposition to the development plan. Ward Five Council Member Kenyan McDuffie had labeled the survey "unreliable" on the WAMU local news program, the Kojo Show. Mueller publicly defended the survey last week saying it was reviewed for bias by a statistician from George Washington University.
Jean-Christophe Deverines, a local resident and economist, cited the 2014 Department of Parks and Recreation Master Plan "Play DC" that documented the fact that the District of Columbia has by far the lowest green space per inhabitant of all Major U.S. cities (1.5 acre per 1000 inhabitants) and Ward Five in particular is a "park desert". And, according to Medstar’s triennial 2012 Community Health Assessment, in Ward 5 "the leading cause of death is heart disease" which accounts for 300 deaths per year. These deaths are closely linked, according to the report, to the fact that Ward 5 residents have no access to spaces where they can exercise. The District’s McMillan development plans would deny Medstar a critical tool for reaching its mandated target goal.
Dr. Bertha Holliday, an officer of the Bloomingdale Civic Association, in the final public comments of the evening, called the years-long process “corrupt.”
In response, Mayor Bowser offered her understanding that the neighborhood was “divided” over McMillan, “as neighborhoods can be about these projects,” but that the Ward Five Council member Kenyan McDuffie supported the development. She emphasized that the DC Council’s approval last November was “unanimous.”
Community opposition consistently has been running 5 to 1 against the project – in letters written and in testimony given to District agencies such as the HPRB, the Zoning Commission and others. A June 2013 DMPED meeting to gauge community support for surplusing McMillan’s 25-acres, was standing-room-only with more than 150 attendees, but only three people spoke in favor. Other expressions of opposition include a petition with more than 7,200 signatures, a survey by WAMU that found a large majority of residents opposed, and more than 600 letters to the Zoning Commission, running 5 to 1 against the VMP development plan.