To the editor:
In reference to Alexandria Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Tina Leones column (Combining the power of beauty and business, July 8, 2010):
While I wholeheartedly applaud her getting on her knees to plant flowers in tree wells and her apparent commitment to improving the appearance of King Street from one end to the other, there are some issues not covered that I would like to point out.
First, cigarette butts are in tree wells because there are no disposal units on King Street. Each trash can on King Street should have an inverted top filled with sand. The Chamber should push its businesses and the city to provide these.
Second, many of our small, independent businesses have been replaced with large corporations such as CVS, Walgreens and Restoration Hardware, to name a few. Unlike locally owned establishments, there is little regard for what goes on outside these stores; its whats hitting the cash register inside that counts. The Chamber of Commerce could lean on CVS and others to paint and maintain their business facades.
Third, historic buildings, such as the Small Mall, have been replaced (that means, torn down) with large, ugly facades. Several of these buildings remained empty for years, leading to unsightly trash and weeds outdoors.
Fourth, the city is not enforcing the requirement that all businesses keep their sidewalks clean and trash and weed free. Plus, the city is not holding the beer deliverers responsible for the damage being done to brick sidewalks from containers being dropped (stop by Union Street Public House). We do not need to spend taxpayer money to get this work done; enforce the rules we already have in place. Go check out the special-use violations in the grossly dirty alley next to Scoops the city knows but wont fix that either.
In conclusion, I would like to say that many businesses at both ends of King Street and neighboring blocks have stepped up to the plate. I for one am very appreciative of what theyve done. And, like Ms. Leone writes, lets get everyone else onboard to do their share, too. That includes you and me.