City Council is hearing from hundreds of Alexandrians with passionate interest and opposing views in revitalizing their waterfront as council members prepare to vote on a city plan that would redevelop the area.
During a marathon Saturday council meeting, plan proponents say it’s a good start that will rejuvenate the area while opponents say it will create oppressive density.
Old Town resident Val Hawkins, who also works at a city-affiliated nonprofit to help the city grow its economic development, said: “At the end of the day, the time has come” to vote on the plan.
But Al Kalvaitis, a member of Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan, called the process flawed and said: “There is a simplistic thinking that more development bring more money.”
CAAWP co-founder Boyd Walker said: “This plan is not a compromise but a fantasy constructed by consultants.”
David Olinger, a member of the Old Town Citizens Association, called the plan “a bunch of loosely stitched together concepts and ideas” and called for council not to pass it.
Old Town resident former Sen. Patsy Ticer called the plan “not ready for prime time.”
But many residents voiced strong support. Lynn Hampton, a member of Waterfront for All, said she’d like to align herself “with the younger generation” who support the plan, which “creates jobs, adds some parks…and the plan is economically sound."
Car dealership owner Jack Taylor said the plan is important because it creates jobs.
A former Navy captain and resident of the Carlyle area said if the plan isn’t passed, Old Town “will become irrelevant and obsolete” as other waterfront areas like National Harbor and in Washington, D.C. become more enticing.
“There’s a difference between citizen input and getting what you want,” said Chris Ballard, an Alexandria small business owner and a member of the Waterfront Plan Work Group.