News: May 2006

PARK FENCE COMES DOWN, OTN CELEBRATES

The week of May 15 saw the beginning of construction on Montgomery Park improvements. First in line was demolition of the fence along Fairfax Street and on First Street (other than the fencing necessary for the dog park). It is now possible to enter the park from Fairfax Street, although there is a little hill to overcome. Steps will be cut into the hillside as part of additional improvements. During the summer, work will begin on construction of a path from the metered parking lot toward the center of the park above the tennis courts, making way for installation of a thirty-foot wide picnic shelter. Future phases of work will finish the path all the way to the Radisson Hotel, and reconfigure the shape of the dog park.

The Old Town North Community Partnership celebrated with the Second Annual Taste of Old Town North on May 18. Neighborhood restaurants were enthusiastic participants. If you couldn’t come, you missed:

  • Jambalaya from Café Marianna
  • Pasta from A La Lucia
  • Salad from Stardust
  • Soup and lemonade from Perks/Thai Royal Restaurant
  • Coffee and pastries from Starbucks
  • Hummus and pitas from Perfect Pita
  • Meatballs from the Radisson

New for this year, George Williams from the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership and several local businesses provided information at a special table.

The Parks and Recreation Department worked with us to make the event a success, contributing their band stage and scheduling the Richard Walton Band to play for us throughout the event.

OTNCP thanks all those who participated in organizing the event, and in particular, Jay Palermino who has been teaching us all that is worth knowing about organizing “Taste of” events. Jay took time out from his ventures at Hollin Hall Pastry Shop and Willow Restaurant to help us.

Thanks also to Bruce Machanic, our Montgomery Park and Taste of Old Town North Committee Chairman. Brochures describing the park improvements, budget, and fundraising plan for the new park are available at Bruce’s office at 300 Montgomery Street, 2nd floor. This is also OTNCP’s headquarters for newsletter delivery and for additional information brochures for the community.

WILSON BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION WILL AFFECT ALL THIS SUMMER

So far, our neighborhood has not been unduly affected by construction of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Now that one new span has opened, the Bridge Project is going to start on demolition of the current Wilson Bridge, causing traffic and noise impacts during the summer. We provide some information here so you know what to expect. More detailed information is available from the project’s web site, www.wilsonbridge.com and from the City’s Woodrow Wilson Bridge project coordinator, Reed Winslow, 703-548-3180.

Be aware of the upcoming traffic changes:

  • Avoid the Beltway near Alexandria the entire weekend of June 9-12 and July 14-16. Major lane shifts will be taking place, and the potential for long backups is high.
  • Work on the urban deck at Washington Street near St. Mary’s Cemetery is due to be completed in late summer. This will allow Washington Street to revert back to its normal four lanes.
  • Some northbound ramps of Route 1 (from Fairfax County into Alexandria) will be closed and access patterns will change.
  • Jones Point Drive, the access road to Jones Point from Royal Street, has already been closed to vehicles.
  • The Mt. Vernon bicycle trail will remain open but experience shifts in entrance points and path location.

The demolition of the current bridge and new pile driving will probably cause some noise to drift up the river in our direction. Demolition of the bridge in the vicinity of Royal Street is to start on July 17 and move eastward, taking about four months. Pile driving will start as soon as portions of the old bridge are out of the way, probably in early September. Expect noise throughout the fall.

A community meeting to explain these changes and the construction program is being scheduled for late June.

OLD TOWN NORTH HOSTS SUMMER EVENTS

On June 11 from 1 to 3, the Alexandria Crew Boosters are holding a dedication ceremony at the Boathouse at the foot of Madison Street. The Boathouse will be named the Dee Campbell Rowing Center after the inspiring coach of the girls’ senior eight boat for 40 years.

The 25th Annual Alexandria Red Cross Waterfront Festival is scheduled to once again take place in Oronoco Bay Park on June 17 and 18. The Festival features a series of concerts, children’s events, arts and crafts and concession stands, and living history exhibits. For more information, consult the festival’s web site at www.waterfrontfestival.org, or call 703-549-8300.

The City’s annual Birthday Celebration will be held on July 8 at Oronoco Bay Park beginning at 6 pm and culminating in fireworks at 10 pm. The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will entertain us with a concert.

Old Town North Community Partnership is sponsoring two free summer concerts in Montgomery Park with the Parks and Recreation Department:

  • July 18, Blue Rhythm Boys
  • August 1, Jumpin’ Tonight

Elsewhere but nearby, check out these events (information available from www.thefunsideofthepotomac.com).

  • June 17, Civil War Camp Day at Ft. Ward
  • July 4, Red White and Blue Concert at Mt. Vernon
  • July 15-23, Alexandria Guitar Festival at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House and Athenaeum
  • July 18, Children’s Days at Gadsby’s Tavern
  • August 6, Carlyle Housewarming, Carlyle House

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The Old Town North Community Partnership is seeking volunteers to help distribute our newsletter. We ask one person from each residential neighborhood within Old Town North to pick up enough newsletters for all the houses in their area, and hand deliver them. We need “carriers” for Harbor Terrace, Portners, Potomac Shores, and Port Royal. If you haven’t seen any hand delivered copies in your neighborhood (about every other month) please let us know.

However, the best way to make sure you see every issue is to request email delivery. Just write to info@oldtownnorth.org, and we’ll put you on the list for newsletters and emails about special events.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW, IN BRIEF

  • Sport & Health is applying to increase its space from 25,000 to 41,000 square feet and for a new entrance doorway within its current building at Madison & Fairfax Streets. The Planning Commission/City Council public hearings are in June.
  • Demolition has started on the old Postmasters building on Royal Street at First Street, to make way for new residential condominium buildings.
  • Plans are being prepared for new residences at the former Windows Catering building site.
  • OTNCP is working on figuring out why the coal train is making so much noise lately…we’ll let you know the answer in the next issue!
  • The Thai Restaurant at Royal and Montgomery seems to be making progress…look for their opening soon.
  • Next OTNCP meeting, June 21, 7:30 pm. Meetings are held at 300 Montgomery Street, 2nd floor. All are welcome.

SIGN UP FOR OLD TOWN NORTH COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP MAILING LIST

Please send an email with your contact info@oldtownnorth.org. Or complete and mail the form below to Old Town North Community Partnership, c/o Montgomery Center, 300 Montgomery Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314.