To the editor:
At the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on Tuesday, to influence the State Water Control Board to grant or deny a permit to destroy nearly five acres of wetlands for the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Alternative B, current Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, former Mayor Kerry Donley, and Councilor Canek Aguirre all cheered the project on, while minimizing the facts as to the imminent and severe environmental impacts if the station is actually built.
In stark contrast from a more considerate and less mercenary time, former Alexandria Mayor Jim Moran, also a former U.S. congressman, in 1990 made the following conservation statement regarding a similarly proposed development in the exact footprint of the PYMS Alternative B site: “Alexandria City Council is on record as opposing the construction of the interchange across the George Washington Memorial Parkway. … The interchange will facilitate the development of adjacent land [Potomac Greens, including PYMS Alternative B] which will produce adverse… impacts on the quality of life in the city.”
City Councilor Del Pepper, then Potomac Greens Task Force cochair, underscored Moran’s written statement to the Virginia Governor by saying, “Also, we felt that the [DOI Final Environmental Statement – GWMP/Potomac Greens] does not explain the significance of the parkway being placed on the National Register of Historic Places or explain the legislative intent of the 1929 agreement between the federal government and the city to uphold the memorial character of the parkway. … We felt that it should have had a greater context to spell out just how critical it is that this land be preserved. … We hope that you will protect our natural and national treasure.”
We’ve come a long way only to lose our way from what was once a collective sense of hometown values that defined Alexandria. Those values have little to do with chasing Amazon and similar ubiquitous and cultureless chains.
-Cill Dara, Alexandria