Your Views: Taylor Run an illusory project

Your Views: Taylor Run an illusory project
Taylor Run (Photo/Missy Schrott)

To the editor:

In response to the Nov. 12 letter from Jane Seward and Lynn Gas, “Don’t rush Taylor Run Project,” I’d like to augment their environmental concerns with an observation that there are additional issues here – climate change concerns and the lack of sensible spending priorities.

Tearing vegetation out of Taylor Run has four immediate physical and climate-based impacts: an incremental increase in both greenhouse gasses and temperature due to a loss of vegetation, a loss in stormwater retention and the erosion and instability of the stream banks. Given that stormwater and climate concerns are already issues in the city, I’m not sure why Mayor Justin Wilson and City Manager Mark Jinks, both finance and contract guys by training, want to intentionally and knowingly exacerbate existing issues.

If we take it as a given that this method of “natural channel design” isn’t, as its original designer has observed, suitable for small streambeds such as Taylor Run, I’m left wondering why Wilson and Jinks are so committed to the project. The bulk of the issues with Alexandria’s lack of federal compliance lie in failures of the built infrastructure of the city and not in a small stream flowing through a stretch of woods.

While Alexandria’s pollution issues are anchored in maintenance, design and capital spending decisions made well before Wilson and Jinks came on the scene, ignoring those problems in favor of this sort of illusory project is, in equal parts, myopic and foolhardy.

In conversation with other citizens, I’ve gathered that one of the reasons this project is proceeding is that the money is coming from the Commonwealth and so it’s “free” to us. I beg to differ.

Our elected representatives in Richmond are well aware of the other issues we face in Alexandria and, based on recent conversations, are ready and willing to go to bat for the citizens of Alexandria. I, for one, would like to see Wilson and Jinks flex their finance and contracting muscles and figure out a better place to spend these funds.

I have heard Wilson boosters characterize any criticism of the Mayor’s pol- icies and performance as the work of cranky Republicans. That’s inaccurate. What is accurate is that, as taxpayers, we expect the city’s leadership to act in the best interests of citizens.

Stop the huge buildings!

-Eric Graves, Alexandria