Preserving our history

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Assessing the progress and focus of historical preservation in Alexandria is one goal of the upcoming Alexandria Historic Preservation Conference and Town Meeting, May 4 and 5 in Old Town. This is the first of what organizers hope will be many meetings to find a balance between development and history in a city that dates back to the American Revolution. We want to impress upon people that this is for everyone, said Ellen Stanton, the chair of the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission, and conference co-chair.

The conference will be attended by prominent authorities on historic preservation including Dr. William Seale and Donovan Rypkema. Seale, a 24-year resident of Alexandria, is an architectural restorationist and White House historian that specializes in the restoration of historic buildings. Past successes of Seales include the George C. Marshall House in Leesburg and the Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, La.

Rypkema is an industry leader involved in the economics of preserving historic structures. He is the author of several publications focusing on historic preservation including the Economics of Historical Preservation and the Downtown Real Estate Development Series.

In 1992, City Council passed a master plan which included historic preservation. Over the last 15 years, progress has been made, said Stanton. Other areas still need to be looked at, and developing an action plan is one of the commissions goals. The waterfront area has been on the forefront lately because of the National Harbor that is under construction across the river in Maryland. The commission is working on preservation principles in that direction, said Stanton.
For more information call (703) 549-5811. 

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