Your View: Old Dominion Boat Club should halt its resistance to change


To the editor:
The new Alexandria waterfront plan proposes a dazzling public plaza, promenade and pier with splendid views of the Potomac River in the area where King Street meets the river. It would certainly be the best public civic space the city has ever created and would provide a range of activities, from performances to ice skating.
Creation of this outstanding new public area is dependent on relocating the parking lot of the Old Dominion Boat Club. The city has made what appears to be a reasonable, even generous offer, including money, to the boat club for its permission. But the club has resisted, for reasons that remain unclear.
The city has proposed moving the clubs parking lot to a location in the ground level of a new restaurant / retail building that would frame a redesigned Waterfront Park a location that is immediately adjacent to where the lot is now located. The city has also offered to give the boat club a portion of the revenues from the new restaurant / retail uses.
The boat club would also benefit in another way. The new public space would dramatically improve the aesthetic appearance of this area, and in the process, would elevate the boat club to a much more prominent position on the waterfront.
Of course, a key part of this aesthetic improvement would come from removing the clubs surface parking lot, which hardly seems an appropriate use for one of the most historic spots of one of the nations most historic cities.
I would provide the boat club with even more benefits in return for the parking lot relocation. The city should offer to restore the exterior of the boat club building to its historic architectural appearance.
Given what would appear to be obvious benefits to the boat club, why is it resisting the citys plan?
Since learning about the clubs public-spirited charitable activities a number of years ago, I have thought very highly of the club. I hope that club members will once again summon up their civic pride to support this important project to revitalize our historic waterfront.