ATTEND OUR MARCH MEETING FOR A VIEW FROM THE TOP!
Not only will you experience the grand view from the top level of the Alexandria House, but you’ll also get a view of our area’s economic future from a top official. Stephanie Landrum, Acting Director of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, will speak to OTNCP members and guests on the status of various sites in our neighborhood, including the bus barn, Giant/ABC, and the former Health Department. She can also answer your questions about the impact of the National Harbor on our community and prospects for new retail and service businesses. Please join us Thursday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the rooftop level Drake Room at Alexandria House, 400 Madison Street. You won’t want to miss this most informative meeting!
AREA BUSINESSES PREPARE FOR NATIONAL HARBOR
Alexandria’s waterfront business community met March 13 aboard the Cherry Blossom, docked at the Torpedo Factory, to discuss the tourism potential posed by the new National Harbor development in Prince George’s County. Anticipating water taxi-, car- and tour bus loads of tourists to reach our shores, Alexandria businesses are giving their buildings and interiors a facelift and tailoring their offerings to the new demographics of National Harbor.
The City government will assist by installing directional signage and working on sidewalk and street maintenance. The Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association (ACVA) is working on new restrooms and expanded visitor center facilities, as well as coordinating with National Harbor developers (see story at top right).
Other initiatives proposed by forum participants focused on marketing, transportation, and sprucing up; all agreed that a strongly led collaborative effort is needed. Old Town North’s three hotels and many restaurants will undoubtedly be involved in the overall tourism development efforts related to National Harbor. The Chamber of Commerce, also located in this neighborhood, is coordinating business sector planning efforts.
WHAT IS NATIONAL HARBOR ANYWAY?
National Harbor is being billed by its anchor property, Gaylord National Hotels, as the site of “the largest combined hotel and convention center in the nation’s capital region.” Situated at the foot of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Oxon Hill, Maryland, the 300-acre development is being led by The Peterson Companies of Fairfax, Virginia. While National Harbor is “just minutes” from Washington, D.C., it is directly across the river from Old Town Alexandria, creating a new and steady source of visitors to our area.
At full build-out, the project will offer more than 4,000 hotel rooms plus 2,500 condominiums, 500,000 square feet of Class A office space, one million square feet of retail, dining, and entertainment space, and a 470,000-squarefoot convention center. The project also includes four piers and two marinas to focus squarely on the Potomac River as a main attraction. The 42-acre Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center is scheduled to open in April 2008. A Marriott Residence Inn is also under construction and expected to open in March 2008. For more information, visit these sites: www.nationalharbor.com and http://www.gaylordhotels.com/press/dec_02_04b.cfm.
WARPED, SINKING STREETS SLATED FOR $4.4 MILLION MAKEOVER
The City’s Capital Improvements Budget provides $4.4 million for a project to fix rolling pavements on Montgomery and Madison Streets between Pitt and Fairfax Streets. Built on land formerly belonging to the Alexandria Canal, these streets have become unstable with the pavement sinking in spots. The City’s project calls for the design phase to take place in 2008, with construction to level and resurface both streets in 2009.
Also in the Capital Improvements Budget is the tantalizing possibility of funding to improve the tennis courts at Montgomery Park. Vice Mayor Andrew MacDonald assures us this project is among his high priorities; Alexandria has few public tennis courts, and these are a valuable asset that needs to be maintained. OTNCP is looking for a couple of volunteers to work with us on shaping a collaborative project for improvements with the Department of Recreation and Parks. If you have a particular interest in the Montgomery Park tennis courts and would like to get involved, please e-mail us at email@example.com.
CLEAN-UP OF ORONOCO STREET OUTFALL TO BEGIN THIS YEAR
Finally, the Capital Improvements Budget provides funds to begin addressing and cleaning up ground contamination at the Potomac River Oronoco Outfall, an area at the southern end of Oronoco Bay Park. Coal tar contaminants from the Alexandria Gas Works that operated in the 19th and 20th centuries have prompted this essential project that begins with relining the Oronoco Street storm sewer this fiscal year. The next phase, which involves designing and installing a hydraulic control and treatment system, is scheduled for fiscal years 2008 and 2009. Once the new system is functioning effectively, the City plans to dredge and remove the most contaminated sediment near the outfall. A settlement from Washington Gas Light Company (former owners of Alexandria Gas Works) is helping fund clean up, monitoring, maintenance and operation costs.
A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME
Noticed the sign box at the north end of the parking lot by the Montgomery Park tennis courts? The City installed this sign box at our request under its Neighborhood Matching Grant program. TNCP volunteered to design several maps and other communications to be posted on the sign and keep you informed. A business map and guide is already complete, with a residential version to follow. Next up: a guide to our recreational, park, and cultural facilities, and a history map. Look for them soon!
OTNCP NEEDS YOUR HELP!
We still need neighborhood representatives for Alexandria House, Annie B. Rose House, Chatham Square, Executive Club/Riverton, Harbor Terrace, Hearthstone Mews, Garrets Mill, George Parker Homes, Ladrey Senior Highrise, Marina Towers, Portner House and Tobacco Key. If you live in one of these areas, please let us know who is president of your community or homeowners association and provide contact information. Or volunteer to be your community’s official contact. Please e-mail contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IT’S SPRINGTIME IN OLD TOWN — GET OUT AND ENJOY THESE EVENTS!
- 2007 Run vs. Row Classic, Saturday, March 31, 8 a.m.: This annual event features rowers from the T. C. Williams Crew team and runners from throughout the metro area. Come and watch, or even better, compete yourself — no rowing necessary! Sign up to run a 10k or walk a 4k along the shore and see if you can beat the time of the fastest rowing team! For more information or to register for either the run or walk, visit http://www.runvsrow.com/. (Note: Portions of Fairfax Street will be closed to traffic during the race.)
- Showtime! Now through April 8, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Studio 14: This FREE fiber art exhibition features movie-related themes. For more information, please visit www.torpedofactory.org or call 703-683-1342.
- Roots and Branches, March 24 through April 29, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Target Gallery: View this FREE all-media art exhibition juried by Dr. Gwendolyn H. Everett, Professor of Art History at Howard University and the Corcoran College of Art and Design. More information and exhibit days/times: www.torpedofactory.org or call 703-838-4565
- “Musical of Musicals, The Musical!” at MetroStage, 1201 Royal Street, April 11 through June 3: In this hilarious parody of musical theatre, one story becomes five different musicals, written in the distinctive styles of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, Jerry Herman, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Performance times and ticket info: www.metrostage.org or call 703-548-9044.
- Old Town North’s own “Taste of Old Town North,” Thursday, May 17: 2007 marks our third and best year yet for this popular event. Stay tuned for full details!
March Meeting Reminder
Please be sure to join us Thursday, March 22, 7:30 p.m. in the Alexandria House Drake Room for an informative meeting on the future of our neighborhood.
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