Friday, September 18, 2015

WaPo Opinion: "DC should embrace McMllan's history" by Jeffrey Anderson

Click on the link to read the entire Washington Post opinion item:

  September 18 at 4:31 PM

D.C. officials and civic boosters are blowing an opportunity at the McMillan Sand Filtration Site.
The cylindrical, ivy-covered storage bins on the fenced-off expanse along North Capitol Street evoke a city’s arcane past. Washingtonians could be forgiven for not knowing of the network of vaulted concrete sand filtration cells beneath those structures, where the city cleansed its drinking water for 80 years. Or that the site, a landmark in the National Register of Historic Places, was designed by 19th-century engineers Montgomery C. Meigs and Allen Hazen, and urban planner and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., among others.
Even amateur urban planners know the grass-covered 25-acre site as little more than an eyesore in a gentrifying neighborhood ripe for economic growth. The water filtration site, named for Sen. James McMillan (R-Mich.) and decommissioned in 1986, is destined for 2 million square feet of mixed-use development better suited for Reston or Tysons Corner.
Great cities embrace such places with an appreciation of their history and a vision for the future. The reimagining of obsolete infrastructure such as New York’s High Line, Chicago’s Millennium Park and Seattle’s Gas Works Park proves that lasting economic growth flows from incorporating the bones of a city into its emerging new self.


  1. Your comments are so true. I only wish there was a way to amplify your thinking into a larger discussion, that could stop the commercial development.

    Destruction of that park land will be regretted in the long-term, perhaps even by the Councilman who lives across the street and favors the development.

  2. Bloomingdale, DC and the Nation can have this "great place", in the center of DC or more traffic and air pollution, more illness, and deteriorating public health, Bowser gives us
    NO CHOICE!. The carbon emitting "Monstrosity on Michigan avenue", or the "world class" green Olmsted Park, planned for us by Senator McMillan over 100 years ago.
    Bloomingdale, don't let McDuffie, and the city council, ram VMP mediocrity down our throats!
    We can save McMillan Park for our children, the USA, and international visitors. We Can!
    Listen to Pope Francis, talk about destructive worship of money, but remember, parks are development, and they produce revenue, for the public, not VMP.
    Pope Francis
    "we have created new idols. The worship of the ancient Golden Calf
    has returned in a new ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and
    the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose"

    To understand what the theft of McMillan means, see this excellent nomination to The National Register of Historic Places ( ) by DC Office of Historic Preservation, Architectural Historian, Kim Williams.
    She describes a remarkably intact, fascinating, even charming engineering marvel that the worshipers of profits are asking to demolish and over build with 3000 asphalt parking spaces, and 20,000 more auto trips a day. Every thing at McMillan will be provided DC in creative and sustainable ways, and save the park!
    Stop the "The Monstrosity on Michigan Avenue" demand a voice in our future!
    This land, so miserably husbanded by DC govt. abuse of power, desperately necessary for our families, a cool, gracious open, airy cental DC, "Great Place". We already have an Olmsted designed park, any city govt. would treasure for public green space. But this "exclusive rights", deal, just when we need to clean up the national embarrassment called the govt. of DC., is worth $billions to VMP, it's the reverse of Eminent Domain, take from the people and give to Trammel Crow/EYA/Jair Lynch.
    Fontaine, Baltimore, PR firm, to "neutralize opposition", and "provide cover for elected officials", is how this abuse of corporate welfare, is being sold to to an unsuspecting public, kept in the dark. Is this the way the business of the people of The District of Columbia is to be conducted? Join The McMillan Coalition For Sustainable Agriculture, fight for common sense, a healthy DC environment, food and water security, stop VMP/ and their
    Bowser/Gray/Harry Thomas Jr/ Michael Brown, Kenyan McDuffie, M. Jeffrey Miller, Aakash Thaakar, Adam Weirs, Anne Corbet, our land for our public use.

    Long time activist for McMillan Park, landscape architect Mary Pat Rowan reveals the DC funded, PR firm “astroturf campaign” in this City Council Committee Oversight hearing with Muriel Bowser, and how all DC officials have lined up like Duck Pins!

    VMP plan at McMillan will demolish the 20 acres of underground water filtration galleries, and over-urbanize the site. The community struggle to Save McMillan Park, preserving the Olmsted designed surface-park and existing 20 acres underground, creates the exciting potential for Sustainable large scale "indoor agriculture". With vertical indoor growing technology we could convert the McMillan/Olmsted Park caverns to a fully functional, local food facility, making it a truly sustainable site.
    Please see this fascinating video:

    This special site needs to be preserved for public use. A Glen Echo arts/performance campus for family activities, A DC Wolf Trap outdoor concert/festival stage with sunset vistas, an urban beach. McMillan is ours, this is the biggest land theft since the Dutch stole Manhattan from The Lenape, in 1626 for 60 Guilders and a bag of beads and trinkets.