Date: Wed, 27 May 2015 08:45:06 -0700
Subject: [HistoricWashington] McMillan Park and Sand Filtration Site and budgeted $69 million
The following letter to our Councilmembers regarding the city's extraordinary giveaway of not just the McMillan site but millions of dollars to the private development VMP crew is, I trust self-explanatory. However, they have chosen to turn a deaf ear for many years. I have to say, I find that peculiar for people who continue to whine about not having full self-government.
Dear Honorable Councilmembers,
Over the years I have written to mayors, councilmembers and various city agencies and over the years I have not received substantive or thoughtful replies. I regret that and I regret that once again I write to urge your reconsideration of the very ill-conceived plan for McMillan Park.
Subsequent to a 2006 community meeting conducted by NCRC after the inclusion of McMillan in their portfolio, I wrote to Anthony Freeman with copies to councilmembers and Robert Bobb, then city manager. My hope and motivation were to open dialogue and collaboration with District leadership to sustainably and creatively repurpose the long-neglected historic property. Two or three councilmembers responded with form letters. Right from the get go our advocacy and purpose has been dismissed and has led to more years of neglect of the property, public funding of private developers, myth making and marginalization of any friend of McMillan.
It surprises me that a city that considers itself sophisticated and that generously funds a campaign to market itself as “cool,” hasn't the imaginative leadership to look beyond the same old same old pedestrian development. This is the nation's capital; you are our elected leaders with the power to affect the appearance and livability of this important beacon and model city. I've tried to think of reasons that so much has been invested in developing a “new community,” regardless of Washington's dynamic growth or of the historic value and potential for wildly creative repurposing of the intriguing elements of McMillan.
At the same time I am baffled that a sophisticated and prosperous city would look the other way and not make serious long term commitments to eliminating homelessness; to exploring and funding effective practices. In all honesty it is tragic and embarrassing (particularly in the nation's capital) to encounter one or two homeless persons per block downtown and know that they have very few options. I don't know what $69 million might provide to develop affordable options for the homeless and impoverished, but I do know that it would be better spent on real needs and people than on the VMP team and the basic destruction of historic McMillan Park and Sand Filtration Site. And I know it would be a wonderful and meritorious decision!
Ward 5, Washington, DC