Opinion: Waterfront plan in, George Washington’s legacy out

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To the editor:

The most famous fresco in America is in the U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C. If you look 180 feet up, you’ll see a mural of George Washington rising to the heavens, as if he were a god.

In Alexandria, there is West Point, site of a 1731 tobacco warehouse that helped create Alexandria. It’s where George Washington exported his wheat and tobacco. Robinson Terminal North occupies that area, with a nearby sign that says “West Point”  — no mural, no statute, no museum, no history. And coming soon, if the city’s waterfront plan is implemented, is a hotel or office building.

West Point is a genuine historical site, surrounded by an authentically historical waterfront — at a time when authenticity is in short supply. The difference between the plan city council approved January 25 and the citizens’ alternative plan is the alternative plan celebrates and protects the legacy of George Washington, as well as the waterfront’s history, just as the Capitol building reflects its priorities by showing George Washington ascending to the heavens, in glory, on the dome.

The city council showed its hand by permitting the development of West Point as a commercial property. The waterfront history and George Washington’s legacy deserve more. Let’s go back to the drawing board and do a better job with stewardship.

– Patty Sheetz
Alexandria