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Reservoir plans to be aired

(Published July 17, 2000)

By JOEL FURFARI

Staff Writer

The future of the McMillan Reservoir site will be the topic of upcoming workshops aimed at forming a development plan for the 25-acre plot. The first community forum will take place on July 29 with a roundtable discussion of community concerns.

The D.C. Office of Planning, which is coordinating a series of four workshops on the development of the 95-year-old water purification site, will host the first meeting at OíConner Auditorium of Trinity College at 125 Michigan Ave. NE. Background presentations on the site and surrounding neighborhood will begin at 9 a.m. and the roundtable discussion will begin at 1 p.m.

The McMillan Reservoir site is bounded by Michigan Avenue to the north, North Capitol Street to the east, Channing Street to the south and First Street to the west. The facility was considered a milestone for the cityís water system. According to the D.C. Preservation League, the filtration site relied on sand rather than chemicals to clean the cityís water, leading to the elimination of sicknesses like typhoid fever.

The reservoir and sand filtration plant, one of the first of its kind in the nation, served its original purpose until 1986. The next year, the D.C. government purchased the property and, according to the preservation league, the site "deteriorated severely due to lack of maintenance." The McMillan site was included on the groupís annual list of the Districtís most endangered historic buildings and sites, which came out this month.

Jerry Maronek of the preservation league said the group has not yet decided on what development plan it will support. When it announced its endangered list, the league said the reservoir "is now threatened by pressure for commercial and residential development." The announcement said the league "supports the McMillan Park Committee and other community organizations that promote park and recreational use of the site."

The city planning office also will host a tour of the site July 28, beginning at 4 p.m. at the west gate on First Street NW. In August and September, planners expect to conduct their final three workshops, and by October, the office of planning will have a final report for the city government before accepting development proposals.

The second workshop is tentatively scheduled for either Aug. 13 or 26. The third workshop is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 9 and the fourth for Sept. 23.

Copyright 2000, The Common Denominator