DC’s Central Park? A New Rendering of McMillan’s Planned Park

by Shilpi Paul

Earlier this week, UrbanTurf reported the news that the team behind with the McMillan Sand Filtration redevelopment had revamped their plans to include a larger park on the south end of the project.

Well, UrbanTurf got its hands on a few more detailed renderings of the park, and frankly, it looks incredible. Above and below are what could be DC’s (albeit much smaller) version of NYC’s Central Park.

If you read the last post, you’ll know that the park will be on the south end of the 25-acre plot. The above rendering’s perspective is looking up at the park from southeast corner. Below, the rendering is looking up from a southwest perspective.

Renderings courtesy of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dcs_central_park_a_rendering_of_mcmillans_planned_park/6725


  1. d.B. said at 8:30 pm on Thursday February 28, 2013:
    Truly incredible!
  1. mona said at 8:42 pm on Thursday February 28, 2013:
    Looks fantastic, start tomorrow
  1. JohnDC said at 9:33 pm on Thursday February 28, 2013:
    I second what Mona said. Do it now please!
  1. Bob said at 10:18 pm on Thursday February 28, 2013:
    Does anyone know what the timeline is on this?
  1. Marco said at 10:25 pm on Thursday February 28, 2013:
    Ha. Unless properly monitored, soccer players and over use by other sports will render that beautiful green into a large dusty expanse within months of opening...as with Malcolm X park and the other one in Adams Morgan; veritable dust bowls.
  1. jp said at 10:27 pm on Thursday February 28, 2013:
    It's just like Central Park if Central Park was located in Jamaica Queens.
  1. Kathy Santackas said at 12:05 am on Friday March 1, 2013:
    Love this. There is lots'o green in DC - and more is always welcome
  1. mona said at 1:10 am on Friday March 1, 2013:
    Thats right Marco, start complaining already and its not even there. Nothing better to do then complain all day, don't you have something else to do?
  1. Jason Haber said at 1:58 pm on Friday March 1, 2013:
    rock creek park is already DC's central park. Macmillan is a historic site and the rendering wipes out all of the historical elements. a bit of preservation could cost a lot less and serve better purpose but apparently there's a private interest trying to profiteer on another mis-development at the city's expense. if you have to make NYC comparisons; mcmillan should be more like the highline.
  1. D said at 6:36 am on Friday March 1, 2013:
    And what is Manhattan's version of Rock Creek Park? Or even Meridian Hill? Oh, right...there is none.
  1. ATB said at 3:32 pm on Friday March 1, 2013:
    The only problem with the site is that it's not terribly accessible. It's a mile or more from nearby metro stations. It's bordered by a hospital complex, a cemetary and a reservoir. Still it will be a nice amenity for local residents, but I don't see this being a park that gets citywide use.
  1. N. Capitol St Resident said at 4:48 pm on Friday March 1, 2013:
    So, we have one of the biggest parks in DC, with accompanying retail, housing, a "premium grocery store," and an aquatic center, and it's not accessible enough so that it becomes another Malcolm X Park (eg, overused), such that it will primarily be used by locals? Besides losing a "view" of negligible value, what are the downsides?
  1. Devoe said at 4:50 pm on Friday March 1, 2013:
    Looks like they are leaving the manhole covers in for the underground filtration cells. I'm not sure this counts as historic preservation, but it certainly will discourage too much soccer-playing. Also the comparison to Central Park is a bit overwrought, maybe if the whole space were a park instead of the southern sliver you could have that conversation. Also, why is no one talking about the acres of wasted parkland surrounding the reservoir? Surely there is a way to open this to the public consistent with maintaining security at the reservoir.
  1. PCC said at 10:41 pm on Friday March 1, 2013:
    Um, we already have a Central Park at the heart of our city, lined with stately buildings and housing magnificent museums: it's called the National Mall. And, at over 1,000 acres including the two Potomac Parks, it's even larger than Manhattan's. Central Park is over 100X the size of this park; let's not let the comparisons get out of hand.
  1. Taxpayer Bloomingdale Resident said at 4:17 pm on Saturday March 2, 2013:
    Is it a nice park? yes. Is it a nice park compared to what the potential is for this historic park/monument? No Is it good preservation? No When I went onto the site, I saw how truely amazing McMillan is--The 20 acres of underground vaulted caverns blew me away--a shame that the masses of DC residents and the nation will never experience this place. They will have to travel to Istanbul, Turkey to get a feel for what we had in our own city. The top of the park is also a rare peaceful get away from the increasingly crowded city. The views of Catholic Univ, Washington Monument, The Capital, Howard Univ, Stronghold rowhouses, The Reservoir, the huge open space, the mysterious pillars and detailed work buildings, was a rare spiritual escape. If the city encouraged residents to visit this property to experience it fully, they know the residents would stand up and demand saving this National Historic Monument. I'm surprised local residents don't demand the most for their neighborhood. The city officials have an incestuous relationship with the developers-together they will gain at the residents net loss. Any local representative that honestly represents that most of their community is against this single plan are quickly dismissed and labeled as "crazy", etc--Very Sad. Community, please stand up for achieving the most for the community. Giving up 90% of your landmark in exchange for a "possibility" of a grocery store is not worth it. Fight for smart limited development AROUND a preserved historic monument--rather than this development accessorized with touches of historic pieces. We can have amenities with great preservation!
  1. David said at 7:15 pm on Saturday March 2, 2013:
    Wow..... so much arbitrary bonering over this park. Not one person has said why this park is so great or what constitutes an awesome and beautiful park. It sounds like what you all really mean to say is the person who designed this park is a really good designer. I agree with what the Blommingdale resident said. You're not promoting community just because something looks fancy, and as an admittedly transient resident of DC at the moment, it really scares me how much so many of you don't care about community or affordable community as much as you care about things looking a certain way. It's really quite sad and deprives you of the chance to experience a bigger world.
  1. SG said at 4:16 pm on Wednesday March 6, 2013:
    THis park is what most public parks should be... simple, but elegant and GREEN. No more monumental concrete parks. What people really want and enjoy are green spaces to throw the frisby, take their kids, walk or bike around. Not everything has to be a "masterpiece". Bravo to the designer of this park. I have to say, the NIMBYs really did improve this place if this actually happens.
  1. Channing Street Home Owner said at 8:22 pm on Wednesday March 13, 2013:
    I am SO happy to see this plan. This keeps the bulk of the construction toward the hospital, and keeps the park close to the existing community….right across the street from me! This is really the only preservation I am concerned about. I’m not really interested in man-hole covers or those ugly concrete towers. I, too, toured the underground site. It wasn’t that great. I’d be happy if they just filled it in. GIVE US THE PARK AND GROCERY! YAY!

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