So many things around the giveaway of McMillan Park — 25-acres of public green space — by the city to private developers is both strange and corrupt. Take a look at:
- DC Taxpayers Paying All Upfront Costs +
- Non-Competitive Bid for The Mayor’s Favorite Developer +
- Segregation & Poor Doors +
- Destruction of the Historic View Sheds +
- McMillan Park, DC’s Most Cursed Project Explained (DCist)
City Taxpayers Funding All Upfront Co$ts
The McMillan Park giveaway is so bad, not only will the developers get our 25-acre park to demolish and profit from, but city taxpayers will fund them to take it from us! For example:
Holland & Knight, a national premier land use/zoning law firm received almost $700,000 for their services for the McMillan project between 2010 and 2014 (fighting public opposition to the demolition of our park).
Fontaine & Co., a now defunct Baltimore PR firm, was hired by the city and put on the developers team to “maximize local support/effort while effectively discrediting opposition” . . . [and to] . . . “provide continuous political cover to local elected officials.” See an excerpt from Fontaine’s “neutralization” program, paid for by you the DC taxpayer.
Presumably all of sorts of expenses will continue as part of the “$78 million in predevelopment costs, including fees to lawyers to obtain zoning and other approvals, and for site preparation, preservation and amenities . . . in a market where the demand for more housing, offices and retail continues to grow.” (NYTimes, June 23, 2015).
In the fall of 2015, based off of the Deputy Mayor’s response to her inquiry, Kathy Patterson, the independent DC Auditor, reported that the developers Vision McMillan Partners received, “. . . a greatly expanded role and exclusive rights [to develop McMillan]. . . all without the benefit of a competitive process” (See the Auditor’s Oct 2015 report to the Council on McMillan).
In response to this news and in service to the developers, Councilmember Jack Evans and Chairman Phil Mendelson, decided to exempt the McMillan Park deal from laws on the DC books requiring competitive-bidding for public land projects.
SEGREGATION & POOR DOORS
The developers want to divide up McMillan Park into seven parcels. One of these parcels, Parcel 2, includes a mixed-income 100 foot tall residential building. The incomes, high & lower, are separated by a poor door with separate entrances and separate lobbies. See the video below for more info.
“I believe this case [the McMillan project] represents the continuation and modernization of… the history and heritage of Bloomingdale’s racial segregation… that really needs to be questioned very seriously.”~Bertha Holliday, Ward 5 ANC Commissioner and Bloomingdale Resident
DESTRUCTION OF HISTORIC VIEWSHEDS
The proposed massive McMillan development will have far-reaching negative impacts on its neighbors, including on Lincoln’s Cottage, just north of McMillan, where the President drafted the Emancipation Proclamation.
In a letter to the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), Erin Carlson Mast, executive director of the Cottage, asked the Commission to correct the staff report that “the views of the Capitol Dome from President Lincoln’s Cottage . . . are either not significant or non-existent.” By letter, NCPC Chairman L Preston Bryant, Jr. rejected this request. The Cottage has three historic designations: it’s a National Historic Landmark, a listed site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (read the Lincoln’s Cottage letter).
Support for Saving McMillan: The public support for saving McMillan Park and against the city’s plan has been clear, consistent and long-standing.
Over 8,000 people have signed letters and petitions against the current plan, a DMPED-sponsored community meeting two years ago was overwhelmingly against surpluses the property, at the City Council, Zoning Commission, HPRB and NCPC, written and oral testimony has been solidly against VMP and a rigorous door-to-door community survey showed that over 85% of the surrounding community wants at least 50% of the land retained as contiguous public park.