From a press release:
“Today we announce the formation of a new citizens group: Develop McMillan. Formed in September 2020 to support the development and revitalization of the McMillan Sand Filtration site, this group of citizens from Bloomingdale, Stronghold and other local neighborhoods numbers 300 members strong and grows each day. This decommissioned industrial site has sat vacant, decaying and unused for decades thanks to needless delays.
The McMillan project has been in the works for many years, with input from the community going back as far as 2007.
During this time, the site plan has undergone multiple design changes in order to meet the challenges of this historic site and preserve its unique character. The developers, in concert with community groups, have been thoughtful with their evolving plans, and have met the conditions and guidelines from the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), the Office of Planning, the various zoning authorities, and other interested stakeholders. This design process has led to the park and community center portion of the development growing to 8 acres, creating the most public green space the surrounding neighborhoods have had in over 75 years. In addition, numerous other community amenities were added, including a much-needed grocery store, pass through streets and traffic signals to ease traffic congestion and improve pedestrian access and safety.
Despite substantial majority support for the McMillan development, a small opposition group has held the project hostage through years of lawsuits and appeals – many on the most tenuous of grounds. This vocal minority, many not even living near the site, has derailed this project year after year, but our neighborhoods’ silent majority has now organized to make it clear that we support this development.
Opponents of the development have long touted that the entire McMillan Sand Filtration site was once a park. The reality, as noted by the DC Court of Appeals on May 16, 2019 is that, “The Filtration Complex has always been industrial in nature and inaccessible to the public, except for a landscaped walk around its perimeter that the federal government closed in World War II and has never reopened. Since then, apart from a few tours conducted in recent years, the entire Filtration Complex has been closed to the public.”
Our local community and neighbors have waited far too long to get this project underway. While opponents of development are content to have McMillan wallow in legal limbo, we will no longer sit back and allow the site to remain a vacant and decaying eyesore, closed off to public access.
We deserve the planned park and green space, community and recreation center, grocery store, affordable housing, medical offices and other amenities the site will offer. Our neighboring communities will greatly benefit from the revitalization of this 25-acre parcel. For the broader District, this project will create jobs at a time when so many are struggling; provide greater access to health services to under-served parts of the District; and, add desperately needed affordable housing units at a time when many District residents are being displaced.
Starting today, Develop McMillan will begin to spread the word about our group and its mission beyond our local community and neighborhood, and to excite the broader DC community to get involved and join us. We are kicking off this outreach campaign with the creation of Yard Signs for residents to proudly display (please see image above).