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Stella Covre (user 408) - Comments by Date

Hopefully we won’t go down that road (since you don’t have to and it’s a very bad idea)

I strongly urge City Council to reach an agreement with Old Dominion Boat Club regarding the use of the Boat Club’s property that does not involve the use of eminent domain. The Boat Club has offered a reasonable compromise, based on a lease or an easement, that would allow the construction of a continuous public path along the waterfront. What City Council and the Mayor are intent on doing, on the other hand, it is not only unreasonable and unnecessary but also unconstitutional and unacceptable. It would lead to years of litigation, ending with certain defeat in the Supreme Court of Virginia, at a tremendous cost to unwilling taxpayers.

As you may recall, the Virginia Eminent Domain Amendment, which was passed in 2012 by an overwhelming majority of voters, prohibited eminent domain from being used for tax revenue generation or economic development, among other uses. The City’s proposal falls squarely within the forbidden uses.

If you, a majority of the members of City Council and the Mayor, are so eager to trample on the principle of private property and to use eminent domain, why not try it on something that would not give rise to protracted litigation? I suggest creating organic community orchards, totally free and open to the public, where Alexandria residents, and particularly schoolchildren, would learn to grow healthy foods. Food grown in these orchards could be used to supplement the diet of needy residents. The orchards could grow wonderfully on the property currently owned by the Mayor and the members of City Council, which could be forcefully taken once this precedent is set. Since the Mayor and most members of City Council don’t give a second thought to taking other people’s private property, I see no reason why they would complain if theirs is taken.

Stella Covre (408) | User | December 2, 2013 - 10:29 AM | Programming, Art and History Waterfront Implementation Ideas

On the November 4, 2013 presentation by Olin to the Waterfront Commission


The idea of providing “a variety of Waterfront experiences” (Olin, p. 22) is excellent. Any developer tasked with “enrich(ing) the waterfront experience for Alexandrians and visitors alike” would begin by considering the landscape first and designing size-appropriate concepts that would harmonize or even enhance the park-going experience.

The Alexandria Waterfront is a SMALL, RESIDENTIAL AREA. How can anyone hope to “retain its tranquil park-like character” while inviting LARGE CROWDS in the hundreds and thousands to logjam our streets, take up all the parking, and squeeze themselves into this small area not more than a block away from residential housing. Take, for example:
• Oronoco Bay Park (p. 83-89), “large concert – 2300 people”
• Waterfront Park (p. 136-141), “outdoor concert” – 1500 people
• Point Lumley Park (p. 151-152), “outdoor concert” - 750 people

When designing and planning for cultural events along the Waterfront, only a few hundred people at a time should be envisaged for everybody’s comfort.

Stella Covre (408) | User | November 27, 2013 - 10:03 AM | Programming, Art and History Waterfront Implementation Ideas


Except for the use of interpretive historical markers and discrete signage at thematic walk stops, Founders Park should be left untouched. Founders Park is already being used for “Family-friendly passive enjoyment,” “Strolling and sitting,” “Picnics,” “Individual activity or non-activity,” “Individual practices,” “Dog walking and jogging.” Let’s keep all that and add tasteful elements of historical interpretation.

Some of the installations and activities proposed in the report by the Art and History Committee will detract from the park’s tranquility and family-friendliness and hand us clutter in return. The space taken up by the proposed “fish on sticks” art interpretation of Fishtown, the maze/tea garden (this is not Mount Vernon), water sculpture, permanent and temporary sculptures, frame views of the Maryland shoreline, performers, et. al. will come at the expense of the scores men and women of all ages who have made this park a daily source of enjoyment.

Olin’s 11/04/2013 proposal takes away the Dog Park and volleyball court, which our community holds dear and useful. At the same time, some of Olin’s proposal additions raise questions about their compatibility with and suitability to the small size and delicate nature of this very busy, popular park. Among them:
● “Table games”: The lawn in Founders Park cannot sustain permanent tables and chairs. This is not Central Park.
● “Area for historical performances”: Are you envisaging hundreds of people sitting on the lawn in an already busy park?
● “Temporary or permanent sculpture in river”: This does not belong here. I go to the water's edge at Founders Park often, to sit on the rocks, on a folding chair, or on a bench, and read, relax, look at the ducks and geese, or talk in a naturally beautiful, relaxed setting. I go there to connect with nature through water, something I have enjoyed all my life. Water is soothing. Nature is beautiful. Neither nature nor water needs any man-made object to make it look better. Installing a sculpture in the water would defeat the purpose for which I, like dozens of other people, go to the park to sit or walk at the water's edge. A glassy pond in the early morning fog, a raging current during tide changes, ripples gently lapping on the rocks, home for frolicking waterfowl, a vast mirror for the Moon to watch her own reflection... What on Earth can make anybody think that a piece of art (of any kind) can add value to the Park's shoreline?

Founders Park is a daily source of enjoyment at the waterfront for visitors and residents alike. Let’s enhance it with a subtle touch of history. Don’t destroy it with disproportionate, out-of-place structures.

Stella Covre (408) | User | November 26, 2013 - 3:01 PM | Programming, Art and History Waterfront Implementation Ideas

On the November 4, 2013 presentation by Olin to the Waterfront Commission


Will someone at City Council please enlighten me as to the HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL VALUE of a skating rink at the end of King Street?

The idea of providing “a variety of Waterfront experiences” (Olin, p. 22) is excellent in the framework of the thematic areas proposed by the Art and History Waterfront Plans Implementation Committee, which have become the basis for Olin’s proposal, and which stress the Alexandria Waterfront IDENTITY as a HISTORIC TOWN.

As the Alexandria Commission for the Arts rightly asks: “Every place has stories to tell. What are Alexandria’s? Which belong in the Waterfront?” (Olin, p. 161). Answering what belongs in the Waterfront and what does not belong, what expresses the Waterfront identity as a historic town and what muddles this identity, provides guidance in making choices “to enrich the waterfront experience for Alexandrians and visitors alike.”

Thematic areas, a path along the shoreline, interpretive signage, art and sculptures are all good ways to strengthen the Waterfront’s identity as a historic town to the extent that they showcase the history of the area.

Unfortunately, some elements in Olin’s proposal do not belong, do not tell a story of Alexandria, straying at times from the Waterfront’s true identity into the realm of the grotesque, attempting to pack the Rockefeller Center/Central Park/National Harbor/Vancouver/Bangkok/Hong Kong/Taiwan into the small area of the Alexandria Waterfront. The result is a tacky hodgepodge: AN IDENTITY CRISIS.

The most egregious example is the SKATING RINK at Fitzgerald Square. “What is the historical or cultural connection to Alexandria?,” I have asked experts on the history of Alexandria. So far, the answer I have received is that there is NO CONNECTION. The skating rink will also have HIGH MAINTENANCE COSTS that We, the People, would have to pay.

Other items that do not belong are the assorted floating structures (p. 93 “floating classroom”, p. 94 “floating swimming pool”, p. 95 “floating art projects”, p. 97-99 “floating stages”, p. 100-102 “floating light installations”) and the “trapeze school” (p. 145). Not only are these floating structures massive (which is inappropriate for a small area), but they would also entail ASTRONOMICAL MAINTENANCE COSTS. Once again, We, the People would have to foot the bill.

So, to answer Olin’s question, “How do we get there?”: WE WILL NOT “GET THERE” WITH AN ICE SKATING RINK IN THE ALEXANDRIA WATERFRONT!

Stella Covre (408) | User | November 15, 2013 - 9:40 PM | Programming, Art and History Waterfront Implementation Ideas