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Mayor Bowser Delivers Reservoir Park Recreation Center, Pool, and Community Space at Former McMillan Site, Decades in the Making

Saturday, June 15, 2024

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and community members celebrated the grand opening of the new Reservoir Park Recreation Center and Aquatic Center and a 6.2-acre park located on the former McMillan Sand Filtration site.

“We know that people have been working for decades to put this land back to productive use, and today, I’m grateful for all the people who kept pushing,” said Mayor Bowser. “For the first time in decades, this site is not only back to productive use, but open to the public. Today, we are celebrating the transformation of underutilized land into a beautiful new recreation center and play space for the community. And we look forward to all that’s on the way – housing, a grocery store, and more – all generating economic growth and job opportunities here in Ward 5.”

Located between North Capitol Street NW and First Street NW, north of Channing Street NW, the recreation center features a multi-purpose community meeting room with a warming kitchen, outdoor gathering space adjacent to the multi-purpose room, fitness studio with lockers and shower facilities, pool with three-lap lanes and a learn-to-swim area, and gallery space to showcase the history of the site.

“I am confident this unique site and its facilities, located in the heart of DC, will quickly become an attraction for neighbors coming from all directions, across all 8 wards,” said DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Thennie Freeman.

The 6.2-acre park is unlike any other in DPR’s inventory, featuring a grand plaza with two splash pads, surrounded by an amphitheater for community gatherings. For informal recreation, there is an immense grass field, a children’s playground, and the Olmsted Walk, which encircles the site with adult exercise stations. The restored Memorial Fountain and a ‘walking museum’ will tell the story of the historic site and its preserved assets.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Mayor Bowser for her unwavering commitment to seeing this project through,” said DC Department of General Services (DGS) Director Delano Hunter. “DGS is proud that today, as we celebrate the opening of this recreation center, we had the honor to design and build a facility that will provide a valuable space for communities to come together, stay active, and foster social connections.”

Two-thirds of the site is also being developed by the private developer Vision McMillan Partners (VMP), a group comprised of three local construction companies – EYA, Trammell Crow, and Jair Lynch. The new private development, Reservoir District, will feature 146 for-sale townhomes (of which 22 will be affordable), 472 rental apartments (including 85 senior affordable units and 27 other affordable units), a full-service grocery store, restaurants and retail, and over one million square feet of healthcare facility space.

“When we think big and commit to a vision for how we transform and activate underutilized land in our city, we can do incredible things,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Nina Albert. “This beautiful community space is just the beginning for this site, and we look forward to delivering housing, grocery, retail, and other community-serving amenities that benefit and create opportunities for our residents.”

Historically, the McMillan Sand Filtration Plant was a large-scale water purification facility throughout the early twentieth century. In 1986, operations of the filtration plant ended, and the District bought the land from the federal government for $9.3 million. In 1991, the site was recognized as a DC historic site and national landmark, with all 93 acres of the site known as the McMillan Park Reservoir Historic District. In 2016, Mayor Bowser and District officials broke ground on the site to redevelop it. In September 2022, the District closed financing on the private development portion of the site and full-scale development commenced.

The Reservoir Park Recreation Center and Aquatic Center, operated by DPR and maintained by DGS, will operate on the following schedule during summer 2024: 

  • Reservoir Park Recreation Center: Monday through Friday, 9 am – 9 pm and Saturday 9 am – 5 pm. 
  • Reservoir Park Aquatic Center: Monday – Friday, 12 pm – 8 pm and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.


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