Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Friends of McMillan Park: "McMillan Park Faces Imminent Destruction, as DC Mayor’s Agent Seeks to Fast-track Demolition of the Historic Park"

From: Linwood Norman
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 9:59 AM
Subject: McMillan Park Faces Imminent Destruction, as DC Mayor’s Agent Seeks to Fast-track Demolition of the Historic Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    Wednesday, April 18, 2018
CONTACT:                                 Linwood Norman, 804-837-0737

McMillan Park Faces Imminent Destruction, as DC Mayor’s Agent Seeks to Fast-track Demolition of the Historic Park

Park Supporters Have Petitioned DC Court of Appeals for Immediate Review of Decisions Made by Mayor’s Agent

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Largely ignoring historic preservation laws, the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation has approved the demolition of a major portion of McMillan Park, a 25-acre parcel at the corner of Michigan Avenue and North Capitol Street. The Mayor’s Agent refused a request made to delay demolition of the historic park until the matter could be reviewed by the D.C. Court of Appeals. Demolition thus could begin as soon as April 27.

In view of the unconditional authorization made by the Mayor’s Agent to expedite demolition, the Friends of McMillan Park has petitioned the D.C. Court of Appeals to review the Mayor’s Agent decision in terms of its consistency with D.C. historic preservation guidelines and other laws.

The Mayor’s Agent is responsible for reviewing commercial development projects for their compatibility with historic preservation guidelines, such as those that pertain to McMillan Park, a District historic site. The City and a group of developers seek to build a massive, high-rise complex at the park that would increase local traffic by an additional 30,000 vehicles daily, in addition to other adverse impacts to the surrounding neighborhoods.

In December 2016, the D.C. Court of Appeals overruled the developers’ project on zoning and preservation grounds in a lawsuit brought by the Friends of McMillan Park and others. The court remanded a series of questions to the Mayor’s Agent and to the Zoning Commission for further review. Strong arguments were made by the Friends of McMillan Park for a more creative re-use of the park’s assets rather than destruction of the historic site, but the Mayor’s Agent ruled in favor of the high-rise development.

“We’re disappointed but hardly surprised that the Mayor’s Agent has once again sided with the Mayor and her developer friends in favor of this no-compete project that even the D.C. Auditor has said should be competitively re-bid. Furthermore, we are shocked at the Mayor’s Agent sense of urgency in fast-tracking the demolition,” said Friends of McMillan Park.

“The overwhelming evidence presented to the Court and applicable law do not permit the Mayor’s Agent to approve the unconditional demolition of 80 to 90% of this historic site in order to build a massive, out-of-scale medical office complex favored by the Mayor’s developer friends for purely speculative purposes. Neighborhood residents have overwhelmingly indicated support for an appropriate and creative, adaptive re-use of the historic park and its underground waterworks. We face an urgent threat against all we have been working for for years.”

The District-owned McMillan Park, purchased from the Army Corps of Engineers in 1987, is a Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. park with underground vaults that were part of the City’s first effective water filtration system. McMillan Park was declared a District Historic Landmark in 1991 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. 

In opposition to the District government’s efforts to pave over the park land, actively demolish its historic assets, or continue its long-standing neglect by keeping the park fenced off, the Friends of McMillan Park, the McMillan Park Committee, and others, have repeatedly asked the District to obtain competitive bids to see what the possibilities could be for reviving and revitalizing this jewel among the District’s parks. McMillan Park offers commanding skyline views of the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument and beyond.



Jenifer said...

Looks they tearing off the clay shingles from the brick buildings and leaving blue tarps for roofs making an eyesore of the site.

Kirby said...

Gilbane Company was hired to do repairs to the regulator houses and the silos, and that's exactly what you see: the clay tiles on the roof have been removed to repair the wood roof itself underneath, after which the tiles will be put back, and any tiles that are broken are to be replaced with identical tiles from the company that made (and still makes) the original ones. The sand silos have had sand sitting in them for many years, causing some of the rebar in the silos to rust and fracture surrounding concrete. The sand has been removed from all the silos and repair of the rebar and concrete is going on as well. No work whatever going on in the caverns or on the open grounds, and all the work I described is being done in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's preservation guidelines, and in fact Gilbane was hired on that condition.

Bloomingdale Resident said...

Thanks for describing the current work!