Arena would be a disaster

Arena would be a disaster
(Graphic/Jessica Kim)

To the editor:

Alexandria Economic Development Partnership President and CEO Stephanie Landrum said of the arena impact study: “So, it’s really just residential with the existing shopping center or this entertainment district concept.”

Is anyone with an imagination grounded in reality working on the question of what should be at this site?

Given the actual site conditions, among factors ignored in this impact study, we should not plan to develop this site as if it sits on stable bedrock. The arena proposal is a fantasy with huge negative economic, environmental and social impacts if it is allowed to go forward. It’s just not economically feasible to pave over and build massive structures and underground parking at this wetland site. This may be why the developers want to shift the risk and the costs to Virginians.

If this site is fully paved and deep foundations are pile-driven into the wet ground, where will all the displaced water and silt go? Clue: the nearby Potomac River. The remarkable attributes and the natural services – at no cost to us – of this site have been ignored, as if respecting our place at the edge of the Potomac River doesn’t matter. Is our greater purpose really how many people we can nightly cram into a practically inaccessible entertainment complex?

When the fantasy profits do not materialize, then Alexandrians and Virginians will pay the price for this gambit for decades, and generations, to come.

-Kathleen Kust, Alexandria