Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"filtration plant park"

See this tweet:


Kevin Rapp said...

"This idea of overlooking the formal plain from a permitter path, rather than allowing public access on the plain, was based on Olmsted's recognition of the dangerous condition created by the hundreds of open manholes across the plains. (Records indicate that between three and four acres of manholes would be open at any given time to provide light and air to the workers that were cleaning the sand in the filter beds below.) Olmsted was so concerned abut this condition that he thought it was, "perhaps inexpedient to admit the public to use of the plain even upon a fenced path." - Excerpt from McMillan Park Historic Preservation Report by EHT Traceries


Paul Cerruti said...

Thanks Kevin, however, you are assuming that nothing changed - assuming that processes for operations remained stuck as of 1899/1900/1901 using horses/carts/oil lanterns/manual labor when the planning was done for the Sand Filtration Plant. Evolution of processes and advancement of technology during the years especially following the 1905 inauguration of the sand filtration plant meant that by 1908/1909 the use of the manholes were no longer required. This is well documented. Also note, your source, EHT Traceries, was funded by VMP, aka the large Corporate Developer Consortium...

Kevin Rapp said...

Paul, provide links to the documentation. EHT directly quoted landscape architect Frederick Olmsted Jr, who is often mentioned in FOMP materials.

Kevin Rapp said...

From Dc Court of Appeals: No. 18-AA-357 - Decided May 16th, 2019:

“The filtration complex has always been industrial in nature and inaccessible to the public, except for a landscaped walk around its permimeter that the federal government closed in WWII and never reopened. Since then, apart from a few tours conducted in recent years, the entire Filtration Complex has been closed to the public.”

Link to document: https://www.dccourts.gov/sites/default/files/2019-05/18-AA-357.pdf

Daniel in brookland said...

Kevin please ask Pratt-Kelly, Gray, Fenty, and Bowser why they never opened the site to much needed park space, since completely wasting $9.3 million on purchase from Federal GSA in 1987? When do you finally go to the guilty and ask your nagging, irrelevant questions?
In my opinion, any city govt. not corrupt would be thrilled to open a publicly owned green space to its citizens for their health and recreation. But in my opinion, in blatant racial discrimination by the DC govt, successive corrupt administrations have colluded with well connected developers to steal the 25 acre McMillan site from the people of DC. Why do they avoid the Federal Hist Pres. covenants that make the Visionless McMillan plan illegal? And why do you let them?

Why don't you go to NY and protest and ask why the "high line" is now a park, when it was originally a railroad, just as the industrial/recreational hybrid that Sen. McMillan and Olmsted landscape firm designed should be a park now?
Are there endless resources in the world for the kind of wretched waste that is perpetrated by the DC govt. and its developer overlords?
Why don't we solve the miserable pollution and congestion on the local streets before overcrowding with 54,000 additional transit demand from "the Monstrosity on Michigan Avenue"? Should we just continue the construction FRENZY and privatization that will surround your neighborhood and mine, with subordinate DC agencies evaluating their own employers???

Kevin Rapp said...

Daniel, in 1986 GSA stated that open space was not the highest and best use of the property.

Opening up this ~26 acre site as it is, covered by 2,100 manholes that rest over top of underground catacombs built of unreinforced concrete, that rest on degraded foundations and shifting soils, and are in danger of collapsing; is not a good idea.

The site is not listed as a Federal Historic Site. It was nominated, which you could've done yourself, Daniel. There are no such covenants in place that make development illegal. If there were, your plan would be illegal as well, as the site was never a park. (please re-read above comments).

The site plans include a 6+ acre park that is adjacent to the residential neighborhoods in Bloomingdale. It includes a community center, a pool, an amphitheater, and a much needed grocery store. There will be additional through streets to ease traffic on surrounding side streets, like Channing ST.

nobodyhomehere said...

I was in the neighborhood and part of the post-GSA discussion about the fate of the McMillian site. The reason nothing happened then was exactly what is happening now: Nobody could agree on what to do and nobody would compromise. The only agreement was that the site should not be home to a new DC Jail, something mostly likely blocked by the opposition of Children's Hospital and the Catholic church more than by any neighborhood group. Using loaded words like "nagging," "irrelevant," "wretched waste" and "corrupt" doesn't seem helpful in trying to get the community to reach a compromise now. A 32-year delay in deciding what to do with surplus government land is hardly a frenzy.