To the editor:
The Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan’s proposal to develop the Alexandria waterfront includes a 9,000-square-foot museum with 4,500 square feet of exhibit space, (about the size of Il Porto restaurant), with 400,000 annual visitors — 1,100 daily — paying for entry.
This is a stretch.
Here are some comparisons with other museums: The National Portrait Gallery is free, has 57,000 square feet of exhibit space, more than 20,000 pieces of art and barely gets 1 million visitors per year. The Portrait Gallery is more than 10 times the size of the CAAWP’s proposed museum with twice the number of visitors estimated to attend.
Where would riverfront museum patrons come from when there are so many excellent free alternatives right across the river in our nation’s capital? Alexandria’s nine existing museums require significant fiscal support and attract far less visitors. Further, the traffic created by 1,100 daily museum visitors would far exceed the congestion from 450 hotel rooms in the city’s plan.
CAAWP members need a strong dose of reality. The initial cost and recurring upkeep for such a structure would drain city coffers and lead to increased property taxes. The opposition’s plan is fiscally irresponsible at best.
Our elected officials have a duty and fiscal obligation to support a plan for all of Alexandria without putting a huge tax burden on the entire community.
– Dennis Auld, Alexandria