Montgomery park improvements: update
OTNCP recently met with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Activities to outline the next steps leading to construction of improvements at Montgomery Park. The first phase will be construction of a path north of the tennis courts linking Royal and Fairfax Streets and providing an opening into the park from Fairfax Street. The second phase would be the reconfiguration of the dog park and removal of the chain link fence that currently blocks access to the park. The final phase is construction of a gazebo structure to provide a shaded area that could be used for picnic seating or as an area for concerts and community meetings.
We want to thank all members of our community who have already made a donation to the park improvement effort. As you recall, OTNCP has pledged to raise $50,000 toward the cost of the park improvements, with the remainder of the costs coming from the Parks Department’s normal capital improvement funds for parks citywide.
For further information on the park improvement plan, to join our Montgomery Park committee, or assist in fundraising, please contact Bruce Machanic at 703-836-8066.
otncp’s grant application for funding of a community sign box approved
Our community lacks a central meeting place where information of interest to residents and businesses can be disseminated. We are trying to provide information through this newsletter and our web site, but unfortunately it is hard to reach everyone in a consistent fashion.
We therefore proposed an information kiosk be placed in Montgomery Park that would provide two types of information. On one side would be a street map of our community, with a legend highlighting the main residential areas, areas where retail, services, and restaurants are available, historic resources, and parks and open space, along with a brief history of our part of Alexandria. On the reverse side would be a “sign box”, an enclosed protected area where neighborhood event notices and newsletters could be posted.
By locating this sign box in Montgomery Park, a central location in our community where there is short term parking at meters if needed, we feel that community information will be more readily available to all of us in Old Town North.
We submitted a grant application under the City of Alexandria’s Neighborhood Grant program, and have received approval for a jointly-funded project. Over the summer months, we will work with City staff to design the community sign box and its contents.
For additional information or to offer assistance with this project, contact Agnes Artemel at 703-683-2788.
City could lose over 7200 jobs due to defense dept actions
As part of the Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure process, the preliminary list of actions includes DoD vacating all leased office space within the City of Alexandria. This affects 13 buildings and 1.2 million square feet of leased space. The City estimates that more than 7,200 employees, more than 8% of our total employment base, could move out of Alexandria in the next six years as a result of this action. These people are currently working primarily in the Hoffman buildings, other buildings on Eisenhower Avenue, Braddock Place, Mark Center, and Park Center. Many of them would be transferred to Fort Belvoir, which currently has neither the buildings to receive them, nor the transportation infrastructure to allow effective commuting. Crystal City to our north and other parts of Arlington would lose another 19,000 employees. Fairfax County would gain about 15,000 jobs. Although the affected buildings are not in Old Town North, these massive relocations will affect our area by impacting our local economy and commuting patterns. Specific effects citywide include:
- Employees and their families moving out of their Alexandria homes.
- Small retail and service businesses losing customers.
- A loss of many energetic and valuable members of our community who participate in school, church, and civic affairs.
The DoD’s impact assessment claims that there would be little overall impact on our region. That may be true, but the assessment should have looked at the specific impacts on our city, which will suffer greatly for a number of years from this proposed action.
Additional information is available on:
- www.alexecon.org (Alexandria Economic Development Partnership)
- www.alexandriava.gov (City of Alexandria)
- www.brac.gov< (official web site of the DoD base realignment and closure process)
Redevelopment projects being considered
As reported on in our last issue, WMATA’s solicitation for developers for our Royal StreetBus Barn resulted in four bids. These proposals are being evaluated, and no further information has been released. We will let you know as soon as we hear anything more specific.
The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) has retained the services of CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) to market its property at 901 St. Asaph Street. Offers are due on July 22.
The property is about 56,000 square feet and zoned CG, commercial general. It does not include the property on which the Giant store is located, which is owned by an insurance company. It does however, include the strip of parking adjacent to the ABC building that is used by Giant customers at present, under a lease Giant has with ABC.
The development options likely to be of most interest to bidders include a condominium project, or a mixed use residential and retail project. Our Old Town North Small Area Plan designates the entire block as a retail focus area, and we strongly support retaining ground floor retail uses as part of the redevelopment of the ABC site.
For further information, contact the Alexandria Planning Department at 703-838-4666, or the broker, John Sheridan, CBRE, 703-905-0239.
OTNCP’S NEXT MEETING SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER
In light of the varied summer vacation schedules of our Board members and resident and business members, we will not hold meetings during July and August. Various committees will continue to follow the issues of interest to our members during the summer, and be prepared to brief you in early September about any news of interest.
Our September meeting date will be announced around Labor Day.
SIGN UP FOR OLD TOWN NORTH COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP MAILING LIST
Please send an email with your contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Or complete and mail the form below to Old Town North Community Partnership, c/o Montgomery Center, 300 Montgomery Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314.