Wilcox Asks Other At-Large Council Candidates to Support #DeFund McMillan

For Immediate Release:  July 17, 2020
Contact: Ann Wilcox: 202-441-3265, Ann1Wilcox@gmail.com

Wilcox Asks Other At-Large Council Candidates to Support
#DeFund McMillan

Use $ for Public Housing, Health, Education

Ann Wilcox, the Statehood/Green Party candidate for an at-large DC City Council seat, today asked all other candidates in the At-Large race, to join her call to the DC City Council to #Defund McMillan.  Wilcox calls for defunding the $75.5 M in the Mayor’s FY21 budget for the McMillan demolition and “redevelopment.”  DC should instead use the money to meet the health, education and housing needs of McMillan’s neighbors and Ward 5 and citywide residents.
“I ask my fellow-candidates to stand with me and a group of Ward 5 McMillan neighbors who, in resonance with the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equity, recently appealed to their Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie to Defund McMillan,” said Wilcox. She added: “Like the residents, I want the $75M used for critically-needed public housing repairs, rehabilitation of Crummell School, funding larger family-sized units at Brookland Manor, public health services, and preparing schools for Covid-19 response – not to pay downtown lawyers, architects and consultants to design and defend this bad plan.”
Wilcox pointed to the many deficiencies in the city’s McMillan plan:  turning 25 acres of irreplaceable public, open space into a suburban-style “town center” with 2+ million sq. ft., of generally market-rate housing, offices and medical buildings  – all without the requested library; jamming North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue with traffic; generating air, noise and possibly asbestos pollution; destroying most of the historic water-filtration silos and caverns.  Historic Frederick Law Olmstead architecture would be destroyed, and no Environmental Impact Statement was produced.

Most egregiously, the project was excused from legal obligations under a bill sponsored by CM McDuffie in 2014, to require that when public land is sold or leased for development of at least 10 residential units, 20 percent of those units must be set aside as affordable housing.  If the site is near public transportation (such as the North Capitol St bus-line), 30 percent of the units must be affordable.  This requirement was WAIVED for McMillan planners.  In recent remarks to the City-wide Planning Coalition, McDuffie proudly discussed his bill – but left out the huge exception given for McMillan.
In addition to the lack of affordable housing and burdens on the environment, breathtaking views of monumental Washington will be blocked by 120-foot buildings.  Blocked will be the view from Lincoln’s Cottage, where the Civil War president gazed upon the US Capitol, as he composed the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Ward 5 neighbors’ letter stresses that McMillan was an integrated park, where they freely gathered to picnic, play sports and watch July 4th fireworks.  It was fenced off for security reasons in WWII and never reopened. It is especially needed now to help meet Covid-19’s social distancing mandates, and preserve healthy, green spaces on North Capitol Street.

“After Defunding, an international design competition should be convened, tasked with preserving more than half as open space,” said Wilcox. This was supported in a 2002 Office of Planning report and in a recent DC Sierra Club resolution.  

Wilcox called on all other 2020 Candidates to communicate support for #DeFund McMillan to the City Council, in advance of budget votes on Tuesday, July 21.

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