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Walker Kicks Off Council Campaign at Red Rocks

Democrat Boyd Walker talks historical preservation and transportation planning at his campaign kickoff.

City Council candidate Boyd Walker (D) reiterated his opposition to rezone Alexandria’s waterfront and spoke of his commitment to historical preservation at his campaign kickoff Monday at in Old Town.

With a “Don’t Rezone the Waterfront!” poster taped to the wall next to his campaign banner, Walker spoke of his hope to “save” several sites in Old Town.

“I still feel we can save West’s Point from development,” Walker said in regards to a site next to that at different times was occupied by warehouses and a wharf. George Washington departed from the point to Philadelphia in 1789, according to the .

The site was discussed , which analyzed the city’s redevelopment plan.

“This is a major important site in our nation’s history,” Walker said.

Walker, a 1986 graduate of , was a cofounder of Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan but left the group when he decided to run for council.

At a council meeting in February, Walker called the city’s waterfront redevelopment plan “the wrong plan for lifetimes to come.”

Walker said Monday he thinks a museum should be part of any development plan, making the waterfront area a place to visit “and not just a place for restaurants.”

Beyond the waterfront, Walker said he’d like to “save” the Old Town Theater and the Carver Nursery School by making them historical sites. He said he believes the city could purchase the theater for $3 million and the Carver Nursery School for $675,000.

He said he’d like to see the Old Town Theater remain a theater.

“Movie theaters and live theater is very important,” he said. “The arts are very important.”

Walker advocated the creation of a streetcar system all over the city. He mentioned the city’s plans for bus rapid transit down a section of Route 1 with hopes for eventual conversion to streetcar. He’d like to see a bigger network. 

“It’s an attractive way to move people. … It’s clean, it gets people out of their car and it builds quality of life around it,” said Walker, adding that the H Street corridor in Washington, D.C., is “a good example" of what streetcars can do to a community.

The H Street line has been in the works since 2003 and the District hopes to begin operation of the streetcar in the summer of 2013. In the last several years, trendy restaurants and nightspots have popped up in what was once a blighted D.C. neighborhood.

Walker said good transportation planning was something his mother worked toward when she was a member of council from 1994 to 2000.

Lois Walker introduced her son at his campaign kickoff, saying she didn’t always agree with him on certain issues but never doubted his commitment.

“I admire him for standing up for what he believes,” Lois Walker said.

Boyd Walker is one of 12 Democrats running for city council. Six will be selected for the General Election ballot in a primary scheduled for June 12.

Click here for more Patch coverage of the 2012 Election, "like" Del Ray Patch and Old Town Alexandria Patch on Facebook and follow @delraypatch and @alexandriapatch on Twitter.

pastexperiences March 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM
But the million dollar a piece trolleys look handsome and historic even when Union street is flooded and the residential neighborhood infrastructures are caving in.
Katy Cannady March 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I never rely on the internet for my facts on any subject. It is notoriousIy unreliable. I also never accost strangers on King Street. However, our actual history and Alexandria's place in the greater American story are our greatest draw for visitors. It is what makes Alexandria a unique place. It is a shame that those who are marketing the city to tourists don't use this story. I think we'd get more tourist dollars if we did.
Dennis Auld March 23, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Katy, you can find reliable information on the Internet, just look for it with credible authors/publishers. Second, I can't believe your are advocating more tourists. That is the last thing some of the Old Town waterfront residents want. My opinion is they want things to stay the same, and are willing to put forth any argument to get it. I am surprised, you not being a waterfront resident, that you have bought into their history argument. It is disappearing before your eyes. I'm glad to see there are reasoned, rational, and subject educated participants here. This includes you Katy.
Mike Urena March 23, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Frankly, Katy I think you'd have a very tough time selling Alexandria's place in the greater American story if it continues to be oversold. We are certainly near a lot of history with the capital just a few miles away and sacred ground all around us at places like Mount Vernon, Manassas and Fredericksburg but there's a reason why our museums aren't a big draw. Because of our proximity to these places/events the city's been witness to much but I'd argue central to very little.
Katy Cannady March 23, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I was not going to comment any more, but then Dennis Auld wants to suggest that Old Town residents are inhospitable to tourists. You should not be characterizing the residents of another neighborhood in that way. Some years ago, I was one of several visitors to a home on the waterfront on a Saturday morning. When we were all leaving, our host walked out onto the sidewalk with us and left his front door open behind him. Two ladies went into his house while his back was turned. They thought it was a shop. My host was very pleasant to these ladies in shooing them out. In any other neighborhood, strangers who just walked through your front door might not get a polite response. My position on tourism in Old Town is the Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan position. As Dennis Auld knows, CAAWP has wide support in Old Town and in other parts of the city as well. By the way, new information on historical events comes to light all the time. Sometime in the last 20 years, descendants of John Carlyle's brother, alerted the Carlyle House to a trove of letters Carlyle sent to his brother in Scotland whose descendants preserved them. They shed a lot of light on Carlyle's hosting of those royal governors. Historical information is not a static thing. Another example of a recent discovery is the Freedmen's Cemetary Burial list, found by an archivist at the Virginia Historical Library, at the bottom of a box of other documents.

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