Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Friends of McMillan Park: "Local Leaders Blast D.C. Request for Demolition Proposals for McMillan Park as Irresponsible"

From: Erin Fairbanks []
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 6:40 PM
Subject: PRESS RELEASE: Local Leaders Blast D.C. Request for Demolition Proposals for McMillan Park as Irresponsible


For Immediate Release: August 31, 2016

Contact: Linwood Norman: 804-837-0737
                Kirby Vining: 202-213-2690

Local Leaders Blast D.C. Request for Demolition Proposals for McMillan Park as Irresponsible

Amidst a Court Case and Protests from D.C. Residents, Community Asks,
“Why is the Mayor’s Office rushing it through now?”

Washington, D.C. – This week, the D.C. Department of General Services issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for general contractors to submit bids for the demolition and infrastructure development of the historic McMillan Park. However, this casting call for contractors comes in the midst of a continuing legal battle to halt the shady “sole source” bid that even D.C. Auditor Kathleen Patterson said should be competitively re-bid.

“It is illogical and fiscally irresponsible to spend an exorbitant amount of taxpayer money on a project without proper legal clearance,” said Kirby Vining, a Director of the Friends of McMillan Park. “The selection and bidding processes included in an RFP should not be considered while the court has yet to hand a decision down. If the court rules that the Mayor’s Office has violated its own laws and regulations in permitting demolition of a significant portion of the site and subdividing this historic site, then the time and money wasted on the issuance of this RFP will be considerable. “

A number of issues concerning the project, and whether it will come to fruition, remain before the court, after the Friends of McMillan Park filed a lawsuit against the City challenging its disregard for the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan and the historic designation of the site. The McMillan Sand Filtration Site is part of the larger McMillan Park Reservoir Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites.

“The city is investing $84 million of public funds into what is essentially a private development project, the majority of which is medical office buildings and market-rate housing,” said Mr. Vining. “Legally, the developer is required to provide a significant public benefit in order to justify destroying a historic landmark.  Essentially, this is the biggest developer give-away in the history of the city.”

The project would permit the demolition of 80-90% of the 25-acre, D.C.-owned portion of McMillan Park in order to carve up the land for massive commercial use. The historic landmark, at Michigan Ave. and North Capitol St., NW, includes irreplaceable features such as underground vaults and the surface landscaping designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.

Aside from unique historic preservation concerns, the issuance of the RFP is inappropriate at a time when the project remains tied up in a continuing court case. The Mayor’s Office refuses to state why it is taking this premature action.

“From the very beginning, Vision McMillan and the District government have tried to create the impression that this project is a done deal, that resistance is futile, and that the train has left the station. But that self-serving story is wrong,” says Philip Blair Jr., a resident of Ward 5 and a long-time opponent of the project. “A court is currently reviewing a serious challenge to the fundamentals of the project. The court could nullify the current project on a number of grounds. The RFP for demolition proposals is an especially irresponsible part of this ‘done-deal’ argument. It is, moreover, an abuse of the taxpayers, the residents, and even of the possible bidders themselves.”



1 comment:

  1. Blah Blah Blah... Built baby Built. Why is it that this was decided in 1087 that DC would develop this site and these folks are still thinking that it's going to be "central park", isn't not and the Mayor and Council are correct...just keep moving! You watch the DC court will dismiss this case and the project will move forward without delay!