Public Hearing on the McMillan Park Reservoir Historic District Today at 6:30pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user Scenic Artisan

From a press release:

The District wants to surplus The McMillan Park Reservoir Historic District. Not only that, but it supports the plans of its development consultant, Vision McMillan Partners, to destroy 90% of the historic structures that make the site special. After a door-to-door community survey and close to 2,000 petition signatures that mean nothing to Councilmember McDuffie, community members say “Stop VMP! Stop the Surplus”

WHAT: The District Government holds a public hearing in the neighborhood to listen to the community’s views on it plans to declare McMillan Park Reservoir Historic District to be “surplus” public real estate. There may be possible appearances by Councilmember McDuffie, Mayor Gray, and Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins.

The Friends of McMillan Park and concerned local citizens will voice their concerns. They are calling on Mayor Gray to stop the surplus, stop VMP’s development plans from going forward, and to consider alternatives that preserve and repurpose the above- and below-ground historic structures of this national landmark park.

WHEN: Thursday, June 6, 2013, 6:30pm
WHERE: All Nations Baptist Church, 2001 North Capitol St. NE (North Capitol & Rhode Island)

76 Comment

  • a bit misleading by calling it “McMillian Park”. It is fenced off and currently serves little benefit to the neighborhood. It is interesting looking…. but not sure what other good it serves. From what I gather from our civic association meetings… this debate has been raging for way longer than I have lived the neighborhood. wouldn’t be surprised if there are entrenched interests and large egos at work here. hopefully a reasonable solution can be found that makes this property usable.

    • austindc

      I agree that it is underutilized. I imagine it is fenced off to keep us tottering into those open manholes, but it did use to be a park, so I am okay with calling it that.

      I have to say, it’s been really fun to tour that place when they open it to the public, but I guess it will be good if it can be used for something all year round. I hope they retain some of the elements of its history in any new designs.

      • yeah I keep on missing those tours… have always wanted to go on one!

      • It was never a park. The space around the reservoir was a park, but the sand filtration site where the development is proposed was never a public park.

        What is really a shame is that we can’t have the reservoir opened up because of “security.” That would be a great public space.

  • screw history and cool places–every last inch of DC should be condos!!!!!!!

    • I would be interested in hearing the traffic plan for the proposed development. While I understand historic preservation, this is a fenced off park currently put to no public use. If the preservation plan (which I believe includes an urban beach) is meant to viable, I would also love to hear the vision for making this a reality.

      What I disagree with is a small yet vocal group (Friends of McMillan Park) being held out as representative of the entire community. I see their point, but ultimately if there is a way to put what is currently a barbed wire fenced off area to better use, I would love equal coverage of all development ideas and plans.

      • “What I disagree with is a small yet vocal group (Friends of McMillan Park) being held out as representative of the entire community.”

        That’s how it always is, isn’t it? The people with all the free time to fight development are the ones with the less popular opinions.

      • “Friends of McMillan” are the ones who drafted the beach proposal, I believe. The VMP plan is much more anodyne in regard to park space and commercial/retail/residential design.

    • i dont think that’s what they are proposing. sure there will be some condos… but last time I checked… there were plans to open a lot of it up for green space. you should use fewer exclamation points. you will garner more respect when discussing a heated subject. but this is the interwebs… so I should lower my bar a bit.

      • Besides… condos aren’t such a bad thing when there’s a housing shortage.

      • I can’t speak to the details of this plan because I’m not familiar with it, and I have no skin in this game, really. But just as a general warning–if it’s the developer that’s promising the green space, I would look very closely at what exactly they’ve promised, how ironclad that is, and what the timeline looks like. There have been so many redevelopment projects (speaking generally across cities, not just DC) where the developer throws in all kinds of public/community amenities to gain support (and sometimes tax breaks/subsidies), and then it turns out that the project is front-loaded with all the residential and commercial construction (naturally, since those are the money-makers), and the parks and whatnot are slated for Phase X that’s breaking ground in 15 years or something. And that’s only if the community benefits aren’t greatly downscaled as the project goes on; most governments are not great about holding developers accountable.

  • Are there any plausible proposals on the table that DO preserve the space AND open it for use?

    • austindc

      I proposed a giant whack-a-mole arena, but was shouted down.

    • Not really. Best I can tell from a lot of reading, Twitter-following, and ANC meeting attending, the plan that’s currently backed by the Mayor preserves very very little of the historic underground structure but does have an urban park.

  • It’s fenced off because it’s littered with manholes covered with metal plates that aren’t meant to support the weight of people. So you’d end up with some tardo falling in, breaking their leg, and suing somebody over it.

    I have a feeling they’ll have to dismantle the underground filtration cells eventually, before anything functional can be done with the site.

  • “community members say …”

    EDIT: “SOME community members say …”

    I hate hate HATE groups like this that claim to speak for “the community”. If there was an actual house-by-house survey of the residents who live within a 3-4 block radius of this project I would bet good money that the FOM group would not hold the majority opinion. Instead we get “proof” like a 2,000 signatures (from whom? from what parts of the city? are all of them even city residents?!) and a lead voice who lives 14 blocks east in Brookland.

    Now, before defenders of FOM jump on me, I’m not 100% sold on the plans for McMillan. There is a lot yet to be done and I’d like to see the current plans scaled back even more and a better vision for traffic mitigation in detail. But SOMETHING will be done. This is a foregone conclusion. VMP paid $millions for the legal rights to this project, and that is something you can’t just wish away. The time to stop that was well over a decade ago when the rights were up for sale. That ship has sailed. By making these extreme claims it makes it very easy for VMP and their counterparts in the city gov’t to dismiss it as nonsense without further review. Come up a real, concrete ECONOMICALLY VIABLE plan for the site that allows VMP to get paid for their investment or just go away. And the pipe dream drawn up by the Catholic student group doesn’t count.

    Sorry, rant over. I’m a neighbor of this site and am excited that it will become SOMETHING other than inaccessible “public” space.

    • +1. THIS.

      Like it or not, you have to balance community needs with the necessity of the developers and the city to get a return on investment and sustained tax base. There are a few things that I’d like to see…more trees, a running trail around the site (and maybe even also around the reservoir itself), and a transportation plan in concert with WMATA…but overall, it really is a reasonable proposal.

      • Any access to the reservoir across 1st St NW is not part of this plan and is disallowed due to security concerns. It’s a shame, because that’s the real historic jewel of these twinned sites.

        • You’re right, there are safety/security concerns with opening up the reservoir site, but you don’t need to open the site up, just put a jogging trail in between the sidewalk and the fence. It would connect the two sites and would be a welcome and healthy addition to the neighborhood.

          • Well, there kind of already is: it’s the sidewalk :). There’s not enough room for a separate trail along most of it with the current fence line except the Michigan Ave side. And there is the little issue of the Bryant Street pumping station on the south end which wouldn’t allow for any cut through. I think the public space is about as close as it’s ever going to get around the reservoir unfortunately.

    • 100% agree. I mean no disrespect to FoMP but they simply are not representative.

      Traffic planning is the key for me as you cannot widen first street. If there is a traffic plan that works, putting the site to use would be viable imo.

      • Traffic on 1st St NW et environs will go from bad to worse anyway. We might as well reach capacity with actual DC residents, and solutions for actual DC residents, rather than continue to encourage commuters from PG to use our roads as traffic sewers.

        • Just to clarify, since MoCo is to the north (and not too far) and have lots of commuters, you just dont like people from PG. I wonder why that is…? Care to expand on that thought?

    • I am confused. If there is a need to declare this property “surplus” before it can be developed, what exactly did this development group pay millions of dollars for? If they paid for contingent rights and the contingency doesn’t materilize, aren’t they just SOL?
      Note that I am neither for nor against this project. I don’t know enough about it. I’m just wondering what this development group “owns” at this point.

      • The new surplus process is something that the council passed in 2009 or 2010, well after some of these properties were actually sold or lease agreements made. Now that the development is actually going forward the city needs to comply with this law (bit of a catch 22, eh)? The Post had some relevant articles that outlined the conflicts this produces. It sounds like some groups are using this as a blunt instrument to try to derail projects altogether. A relevant quote:

        “Before the law was adopted, the District’s process of identifying a property as surplus and actually disposing of the property went hand in hand. The law attempts to separate this process by setting forth specific steps that the office of the deputy mayor of planning
        and economic development must take before a property can be identified as surplus. Most important of these steps are the involvement of the public and the necessity of drafting a report stating why the property ought to be considered surplus.”

    • neighborhood associations and civic groups DO speak for “the community’ and none have supported the vmp plan.

      how do you interpret that?

      • It is exceedingly disingenuous to say or even imply that neighborhood associations and civic groups speak univocally for the community when there is so much disagreement within the community on this issue.

        • so when a civic association votes to support an abra application, is that equally controversial?

          • There are instances in the not too distant past where it would be.

          • The point is that if a group is going to support one position that is far from being a comfortable majority, when giving support it should be at least footnoted that there is considerable dissent. Don’t present the support as wholely representative.

    • Go to any meeting in Bloomingdale, and you’ll quickly learn that the loud “friends” represent a tiny handful of closed-minded people and no one else. Their tactics and rhetoric should indicate to anyone that they are on the wrong side of the battle they created.

  • FoMP would get more actual support if they would stop with the misleading rhetoric and statistics. Of the 13 underground chambers, 6 have already deteriorated or are being demolished by DC Water to help with flooding in Bloomindale. VMP is preserving 2 of the remaining 7. How many underground chambers (meant for sand, not people) do you need to showcase the once innovative approach to water filtration? VMP is keeping *all* of the round above ground structures. 6+ acres of the 25 acres are being turned into parkland, including an urban beach that exposes the now underground creek.

    I too support making the new plan as high-quality and innovative as possible, but any smart growth urban planning folks will support a similar mix of commercial space, residential space, and park space.

    FoMP would get a lot further if they could show support for a specific alternative plan, but the reality is what most of them want isn’t realistic or economically feasible to justify the remediation costs of turning an industrial site into livable space.

    • its funny how they are portrayed as a bit crazy and the developers are portrayed as doing the community a favor.

      its’ our land folks. i personally think we deserve better.

    • There are 20 underground sand filtration cells in the site, east of First Street. DC Water will use two (cells 14 & 15) for storm water storage, and VMP says cell 14 will be preserved for future use (if it is not ruined by use by DC Water). DC Water will raze two more cells to create a giant shaft for the tunnel project. I am not sure how many cells have naturally deteriorated. VMP’s plan calls for using portions of two cells for the recreation center/pool area. “Portion of Cell 28 Preserved or Reconstructed Pending Feasibility Study.”

  • I agree. I”m not 100% against VMP/VMG developing the site, BUT let’s be clear it was not an open procurement, a bid or anything transparent. It was sold by the city gov’t during a time when there was alot of strange and unusual happenings going on (which alot of people are now serving time for). Nevertheless, if we all just agree that this was the case, we should use this opportunity to bring pressure to bear on VMG to actually arrive at a beautiful development.

    I think this particular plan is VERY far from beautiful. The layout is fine, even the components (condos, grocery, offices), but the materials used and the architecture are just not worthy of the site. It’s crap. It’s prefab condos mixed with an office park all glued together with poured concrete with absolutely horrible architecture in between. It has potential…the layout as it is oK now. We are nearly there. But they got to work on the content now. The details just arent there yet.

    • +1

      I live across the street on North Capitol and largely support the idea/layout of the plan, but it is another generic-looking development with generic architecture and materials. No consideration seems to have been given to whether the new buildings will fit in with the surrounding neighborhoods. The current designs are an eyesore.

    • Lets be reasonable about this… no one is building the LOC Jefferson Building or the Alhambra these days…

      even multi million dollar new construction houses will use some of the same materials.

      welcome to 2013, everyone wants to squeeze every last penny.

      • but people are building millenium park, the gasworks, the highline.

      • Maybe not the Alhambra, but why not Casa Batllo? What a great opportunity this would be to showcase great and unusual architecture as well as interesting public space – like a sculpture garden.

  • I bet some people in Columbia Heights regret letting the developers take over their neighborhood. Everytime i drive thru there i cringe. In fact, i don’t anymore. Looks like the mall in the suburb of Chicago where i grew up.

  • This thing was built with unreinforced concrete. Saving it “as is” is not an option. Given that fact, the idea of preserving what can reasonably be preserved and developing the rest as a community resource (rather than a fenced-off, inaccessible area) seems like the best course of action.

  • The anti-s have been totally narrow, but vociferous. Just as here on PoPville, it makes a one-sided, one dimensional case. The few have really shut down any chance to learn about the possibilities for the parcel. the “thousands” of signatures were gathered on the basis of misinformation, disinformation and most of all lack of information.

    It will certainly ruin any meeting this evening. Sad.

    • the anti park people? or the anti development people? because both extreme sounds nuts as hell to me.

  • Please. A park?

    I live nearby. I can tell you what will happen in a giant, dark, vacant lot in this area at night.

    Develop the hell out of it. Better yet, can we get a Metro station up here? It would be great for employees at Washington Hospital Center.

  • This friends of mcmillan group is a joke. its a bunch of people with egos larger than their intellect.

    I dont know what their motivation is or what their desired outcome is, but they seem unreasonable.

    Best part, while they claim to speak for the entire community their ringleaders are among the most closed off, unapproachable, and exclusionary people in the neighborhood.

    No one should be fooled – this is a single clique of loudmouths who are all yelling and screaming to get their way.

    They fashion themselves as big time power brokers, but they are not.

    • So, you are saying GGW is there? Sounds about right.

    • Seriously. They were taking signatures near my place a couple of weeks ago and got all snippy when I said I’d rather not sign. I didn’t even say I supported the development (which I do) – but it was enough to provoke them. Bunch of NIMBY fascists.

  • anyone else following the meeting on twitter?

  • I have an architect friend in Germany who has spent the last several years working on a project to convert an old coal mine into an art museum and park land. It is an amazing job that her team has done. It would be amazing to have McMillan thusly repurposed as well. The problem, however, with McMillan is that the underlying structures are not sound. Everything would whole cloth have to be renewed. The position of FoM is inchoate; McMillan cannot simply be opened as a park without extensive development to fortify for safety. A more tenable position is, since development must be done regardless, develop with an eye to the past yes, but also looking forward. Transform an old industrial site into a working hub of commerce – thus staying true to its industrial heritage – but do so in the mindset of sustainability and wise use of resources. Take the opportunity to integrate and upgrade surrounding and supporting infrastructures. Blend it into the existing architecture. This I think is the majority position. Develop but do so with some thought, with some understanding of what is needed and what will further the livability of the area.

    • Agreed. The problem is that this approach costs a LOT more (both in terms of time and money). And I have a sneaking suspicion that jurisdictional competition for development with Virginia and Maryland has sparked a race to the bottom in architectural quality. If we won’t let them build it here, they’ll take it to Reston/Tyson’s/Hyattsville.

      In the interest of seeing this part of DC develop in my lifetime, I’ve realized that to a degree we have to take the good over the perfect.

  • PoP,

    Thank you for informing people of yesterday’s hearing. If you attended, you know that turnout was extremely high and that all but 4 speakers opposed surplussing historic McMillan Park. The crowd was very diverse — young & old, black & white, long-time and new residents — and greatly disappointed when DMPD ended the meeting at 8:30 pm (as advertised) when many others were waiting patiently to speak. Your readers can read more about what happened when we issue a press release, hopefully later today. We will post it on our website at

    Please allow us to clarify some misperceptions about who we are and what we stand for.

    Like the crowd at the hearing, we are a very diverse group of people who live largely in neighborhoods near the park. (And we are actually quite approachable, if not downright social!) Some of our volunteers have spent hours at farmer’s markets, Union Market and Eastern Market explaining to passers-by what the McMillan Reservoir Park Historic District — as it’s known on the National Register of Historic Places — consists of as well as its history; the VMP plan using VMP’s own materials; and an alternative plan put forward by the students at Catholic University, calling themselves Collage City. You can see their plan at Although we are not endorsing a particular plan, the Collage City plan shows the kind of creative thinking we want the city to engage in. As you’ll see, the difference between the VMP plan and the Collage City plan is vast. Unfortunately, only the VMP plan (which is much more expensive to build) is on the table.

    It is unclear to us how the city chose the VMP plan, and the city has consistently refused to operate with transparency. In fact, we asked the city through a FOIA request a long time ago to make public the Exclusive Rights Agreement it has between itself and VMP. A few days ago, we were told in an email by DMPD that we are happy to share that they would make the ERA public before yesterday’s meeting, but — as usual — did not.

    We are not opposed to development and believe strongly that the site should be reopened to the public ASAP. However, we believe we can do better than a plan that — according to the Historic Preservation Review Board — will destroy 80-90% of the historic structures, leave the survivors looking like “tombstones of what was there,” and build something more appropriate to “Tyson’s Corner or Rosslyn.” We have urged the city to look at the success other city’s have had with creative reuse, such as Sydney’s Paddington Reservoir Gardens or NY’s High Line. In other words, McMillan is a unique space with a noteworthy history and deserves to become more than a complex of medical office buildings and town homes. In addition, there is 10 million sq. ft. of development coming to the areas around the park, and we are concerned that we, like NOMA, will end up with little green space if we are not more thoughtful. In fact, we question the wisdom of the city paying $50 million to try to carve out a park in NOMA while, at the same time, paying $50 million to destroy the historic structures of McMillan Park to make possible the building of the medical office buildings and town homes.

    As for the site itself, it was designed in the early 1900s as a means for treating the city’s drinking water, which it did up until 1986. Not only was it an engineering and health marvel (helping to end typhoid in DC), it was also designed as a public park. This park was landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the son of the man who landscaped NY’s Central Park and Boston’s Emerald Necklace. One of the beautiful features of the park was the Olmsted Walk, which ran around the edge of the site, and included the Three Graces Fountain, which is there today in some disrepair on the reservoir side of First Street NW. Many older residents of DC tell stories of playing in the park (which was one of the first in DC to permit both blacks and whites access) and sleeping there on hot summer nights.

    As for funding, it is essential to note that DC is sitting on over $1 billion in savings, and every new condo and restaurant adds to its coffers. This city is not poor. We believe the city can afford another park (although we are not opposed to revenue-generating development within the park that respects the site’s historic integrity); and we reject the city’s attempts to “surplus” or sell/give away our remaining public lands. Just as Meridian Hill Park is a treasure for us all, so should be McMillan Park.

    In just a few days really, we were able to gather over 2,000 signatures (and counting) of DC residents who want the city to reject the VMP plan and consider more creative alternatives that provide amenities for the neighborhoods while preserving the site’s historic integrity and green space. Our petition is not anonymous and does include the signatory’s address. Although signers come from across the city, most are in the wards closest to the park. From this drive, we have developed an email database of over 750 DC residents who have asked to be kept informed.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share with your readers our goals and love of and pride in the McMillan Park Reservoir Historic District.

    Friends of McMillan Park

    • Eh. The city has LOTS of calls on its surplus – from jobs programs and social services for the thousands left behind in the prosperity, to affordable housing subsidies, to transit to keep the city functioning as it grows and to improve the quality of life (seperated blue line if its ever built, other metro expansions in the District, the street car network, bus transitways, etc) You can’t just dismiss issues of cost, in order to build a park where there was never officially a park, despite the memories of old folks. Look at whats at McMillan – does it look like Central Park or the Emerald necklace? Was Olmstead having a bad day or was that he didn’t envision this as a park, cause it was not a park.

      This probably won’t happen soon anyway. They are first going to use the property for stormwater overflow, and the FOMP can probably tie up development for years, especially if there are legal transparency issues – and meanwhile Hill East, Walter Reed and the Wharf can be developed. Then, decades from now, when there is rail transit here, a new plan thats more appropriate, and MUCH denser, can be implemented.

      • “As for funding, it is essential to note that DC is sitting on over $1 billion in savings,”

        The city has had an unprecedented boom, that may or may not be sustainable. Will homes in Bdale still sell for a million bucks when interest rates go up? What happens to RE tax revenues if the property values go down? Is it wise to spend the citys rainy day savings? On a new park, in a city that has lots of parks?

    • dear FOM ,
      I am 100% for more creative thinking about the space.the current plan is atrocious. i love the plan that you put forward a model. I signed your petition. I support your mission.
      what i do not support is your mischaracterizations and sometimes lies in your persuasive argument. maintain your honesty. do not include photos of the reservoir in your materials. that is not the same property. do not include statements that this was a public park. do not say things like “the majority of neighbors”, when you don’t have numbers.

      Just be honest with everything you put out, because when you don’t you lose people that might support this cause. when barrie danneker sounds more sane than you, you are doing something very wrong. remedy that.

  • I’m all for stopping bad developments in DC. But while I’m sympathetic to the FoMP on those grounds, I think that there needs to be more progress turning this into something other than odd buildings behind a chain-linked fence that nobody has used since 1985.

    • Bu, but, FoMP call it a “park” !

      • it’s been called a park for the past 30 years when the national capitol planning commission set it aside in the comprehensive plan to be developed as a park.

    • just because FOM tries to use the term as propaganda doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t become a a park.

  • I was at last night’s surplus meeting and, while I did not plan to speak, decided to do so based on the comments and information presented.

    I am a realist and recognize that, one way or another, something will be built on that site. For that matter, the design team assembled by VMP is pretty outstanding and under different circumstances would be a great asset to guide the development. That said, while I’m not a ‘Friend Of McMillan’ and disagree with their rhetoric and tactics, I do not support the current VMP plan.

    Regardless of what McMillan was when it was built (an engineering utility) and what is today (a fenced-off no-man’s land), what matters is what it can be. I, like all but a few of the people I’ve met in Bloomingdale where I live, think it is a unique, beautiful place with the potential to be a true asset to the local community and the city as a whole. The current VMP plan is a developer-first, community second proposal, but these are well-worn issues.

    At the heart of the issue for me, and based on last night’s meeting what draws so much ire from those who oppose the VMP plan to varying degrees, is the lack of transparency by our city officials. Last night, the Bloomingdale ANC, Mark Mueller, laid out in pretty clear terms what the criteria are to surplus DC property, something the Deputy Mayor’s representative did not do. If the land currently serves a public use, it cannot be surplussed (Mr. Mueller quoted the appropriate DC codes and sections).

    DC is currently working on a project to utilize a portion of the lot (which is contiguous) for stormwater run-off mitigation. Additionally, several residents testified to the de facto traffic mitigation the land currently provides because of the lack of housing on that property. Based on that information, the land currently serves the public and therefore can’t be surplussed. Nevertheless, there was very much a sense from the Dep. Mayor’s representative that the surplus process is a foregone conclusion and the meeting last night ultimately served no purpose.

    Contrary to the anonymous posts here and elsewhere, the community most affected by this park, based on my conversations with residents and the meeting last night, is opposed to the VMP plan. Of the 30 – 40 people who spoke, only three supported surplussing the land and two supported the current VMP plan.

    Lastly, the commenters here calling the FOM petition flawed should read the various VMP surveys, the language of which changes often. They violate the most basic tenets of reliable data collection and bias, the most obvious being the first question on one iteration which asked respondents to choose between the VMP plan or leaving the fence up (that version is no longer available to take). The FOM petition requires the name and address of each signee, providing some measure of legitimacy.

    Gabe O.

    • Gabe, you make many good points, especially as regards transparency, but I dispute your point that “the community most affected by this park, based on my conversations with residents and the meeting last night, is opposed to the VMP plan.” I was at the meeting too, and I support the VMP plan (for the most part), but there is no way I was going to get up there and speak about it when the “Friends” were heckling and berating anyone who even sounded somewhat opposed to their strict agenda. There was a crazy person who went up there and was ranting and raving, yelling curse words, all to the applause of the “friends,” and then he apparently cursed at and spit on someone that disagreed with him. Furthermore, I would assert that many of the people that support the project a) don’t have the time to put together a signature drive or come to meetings (but make their wishes known via email or calls), b) don’t feel as strongly as the “friends,” but generally want the development to move forward and c) are just not the kinds of people to crowd into a meeting to yell and scream at the people who oppose them.

      I know that many of the people on my block support the development, and I suspect that the city council members who represent the neighborhoods around the site do as well: this is why some saw the meeting yesterday as pointless: it was merely an echo-chamber for people who are (for the most part) against any kind of development whatsoever.

      The “Friends of McMillan” do not speak for me or my family, and they don’t speak for many residents of the neighborhoods around the site. We are also “friends” of McMillan, in that we want the site to actually be used, and this is the best, most pragmatic way to achieve that in the relative short-term. They use false and misleading arguments, eg, that the site was always a park, the pictures of the reservoir, etc, and they seek to silence anyone who does not agree with them. That’s called bullying. I agree that the city should be more responsive to requests for information, but that does not a conspiracy make.

      Let’s use the site for something before all of us are dead.

      • You make good points as well. We agree that the site needs to be put to use and soon. Most reasonable people would rather see a development than a fence, and talented people are currently charged with designing that development. Again, I tried to qualify my statement that my view of the minority support of the current VMP plan was based on my first-hand conversations with residents, the meeting last night, and first-hand accounts of previous meetings.

        It was unfortunate, no doubt, that some attendees (not all) made it difficult for certain voices to be heard, but be honest – the overwhelming majority in attendance, FOM ‘members’ or not, did not support surplussing. It wasn’t a matter of being intimidated by FOM, which we agree is a problem, it was a flawed process masking a flawed development being imposed on a high-potential site. That’s why some people are worked-up and that’s why many people, including myself, reject VMP.

        I think most objective people would ultimately support development if conducted through a more honest process and if the residents were provided with a viable choice instead of the false choice espoused by DC and VMP (fenced nothing vs. VMP’s plan only).

        Gabe O.

  • The problem with the College City plan is that it sloughs development off to north of Michigan Avenu – an area that is not under VMP control. Further as a student study, it is completely oblivious to the real needs for the developer and city to recoup its investment in the project.

    If we want this to be an open space for the community to use, it will necessarily come with some new development. As it is a historic district, all new buildings on it will be subject to HPRB review. Otherwise, the only real consideration is the mix and density of the site.

    One needs to have a real approach to this, otherwise it will sit fallow for a another generation or two.

    • did georgetown park recoup the needs of the city?
      recouping the financial needs of the city is a red herring. if the citizens want a park, thats what city funds and investments as for.

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