EXTENSIVE WATERFRONT PLANNING EFFORT STARTS SOON
The City of Alexandria Planning Department will launch a multi-organizational effort this spring to develop a waterfront plan addressing new issues of concern to our area. Public involvement is welcome and encouraged in the planning process, which could take up to two years. Other organizations and groups undertaking supportive and complementary efforts include Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, Old Town Civic Association, several city departments, and the city’s Waterfront Committee.
Our current waterfront plan was adopted in 1982, specifying complete public access to the full length of the waterfront and parkland interspersed with nodes of commercial activity. The plan was partially implemented, on city-owned property and in cooperation with landowners where possible, but a number of key sites retained their industrial uses. The city’s recent acquisition of parcels in the central waterfront has created new opportunities to revisit and update the existing plan.
The planning effort is especially important right now, given the potential impact on our area from the National Harbor/Gaylord Project currently under construction in Prince George’s County, south of the Wilson Bridge. This massive attraction presents both a tremendous opportunity and a threat to Alexandria’s lower King Street. The opportunity is that people coming by boat from National Harbor to Alexandria will patronize our shops and restaurants, energizing both our economy and
the atmosphere of our waterfront. The threat is that National Harbor will emerge as the major tourist attraction, leaving our quaint shops with fewer customers and eventually making King Street’s retail scene unsustainable. It is a delicate balance—keeping the shops and restaurants that make the charm of Alexandria while protecting the adjacent residential areas.
While Robinson Terminal North and Mirant are among the key sites in our neighborhood to be evaluated in the planning process, we are tied directly into the entire waterfront through our network of parks, bicycle paths, and pedestrian walks.
We will report periodically on the progress of the waterfront plan and on ways you can get involved. Also check our website periodically for links to the major planning documents as they become available.
2007 PRIORITIES SET AT OTNCP JANUARY MEETING
A hardy group met on January 25 at A La Lucia, amid the first snowflakes and cold snap of this winter. Reports were given on the progress of Montgomery Park improvements (see story below) and the status of various development proposals. Finally, the group reviewed feedback from the community to prioritize activities and initiatives for our association in 2007, as follows:
OTNCP 2007 PRIORITIES
- Complete Phase 1 and initiate Phase 2 of Montgomery Park improvements;
- Encourage more resident-friendly retail uses to locate in our neighborhood;
- Work to remove uses that detract from our neighborhood (bus barn, ABC store, power plant) and replace them with people-friendly mixed uses;
- Sponsor events that help bring our community together, including the annual Taste of Old Town North and a dog-related event (Paws in the Park);
- Work on improved streetscaping, lighting, and amenities;
- Increase neighborhood participation in our activities.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AND AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD
- Construction is underway at the Postmasters site on North Royal Street; these are condominium units.
- The Armed Forces Benefit Association’s conceptual plan for its site at 901-909 North Washington Street will go for an initial review by the Board of Architectural Review in March.
- We are not aware of anything definitive on either the ABC site or the Bus Barn.
- The Harris Teeter store proposed for the site in the 800 Block of North Henry Street has pulled out of the project; the City is searching for another grocery store for that site.
- Bastille Restaurant has opened in the former Marianna’s space, and a café is about to open in the 600 block of Montgomery Street.
- The US Post Office branch at S. Washington and Prince Streets will soon close, but two other sites are being considered to serve Old Town: 277 S. Washington Street (the Atrium Building), and 200 N. Washington Street (the former Office Depot).
- Now through February 25: MetroStage’s production of Bricktop runs Wednesday through Sunday. Purchase tickets at www.boxofficetickets.com or call 800-494-8497.
- February 12: Real estate assessment notices to be mailed.
- February 17-19: Choose from numerous local events at www.funside.com/events to celebrate George Washington’s birthday weekend.
- February 19, 1-3:00 p.m.: Presidents’ Day Parade in Old Town—billed as “the largest parade in the country honoring the first president and Alexandria’s hometown here.” For more information and map of the parade route, visit www.washingtonbirthday.net/html/route.html.
- April 9: City budget public hearing
- ST. ANTHONY’S DAY SCHOOL ART SHOW
St. Anthony’s Day School would like to invite you to their first art show to be held at United Way of America located at 701 N. Fairfax St.
Thursday April 26, 2007
10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
The children are putting their art on display to celebrate THE WEEK OF THE YOUNG CHILD
- May 4 – 5: Historic Preservation conference
- May 17: Taste of Old Town North— save the date!
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