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Living Memorial Established

Council adopts foundation, approves arts festival.

City Council has created a living memorial to former Assistant City Manager Lori Godwin, who died one year ago this month.

Godwin’s husband, mother and brother watched as City Manager Philip G. Sunderland announced the plan at Tuesday night’s meeting. “We have considered a number of ways to remember Lori, but none of them seemed quite right until this idea,” Sunderland said. “We thought of planting trees or building a statue or even naming a plaza in her name. Instead, we are creating the Lori Godwin Public Service Learning Award, that will be given to anyone or two city employees each year so that they can further their study of public service or leadership.”

City staff must apply by Oct. 31 for the 2003 award. “This isn’t so that someone can go to a one-day seminar,” Sunderland said. “Its intent is to allow a member of the staff to go somewhere and immerse themselves in an environment that will help them to be better at their chosen career. Lori was a pusher, and I mean that in the best way. She pushed herself to do better; she pushed us to do better, and she pushed this institution to do better. This award will push those who receive it to do better.”

Mayor Kerry J. Donley agreed with Sunderland. “I had a very special relationship with Lori, both when she was in the budget office and then when she moved to the manager’s office,” he said. “She really did push all of us to do better. I can think of no better memorial than this award.”

VICE MAYOR Bill Cleveland, too, spoke of Godwin. “I think she was an encourager,” he said. “While the dollars were always important, the people were more important to Lori. I remember many times that she would remind me to remember this or remember that, and she always thought about the people.”

Councilman William D. Euille asked that the award be given by Council. “I just would ask that the award be presented in this chamber,” he said. “That seems like the right place to do this.”

Councilwoman Joyce Woodson had an announcement of her own. “I am so glad that Lori’s family is here,” she said. “I said last year that I was going to start a scholarship in Lori’s name through the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria, and I want you to know that I have done that. While the city’s award is a way for adults to remember Lori, this scholarship will be given to a T.C. Williams student each year who wants to pursue a career in public service. This is a way for our young people to know about Lori as well. The first recipient will be chosen this year.”

The Lori Godwin Public Service Award was established unanimously.

CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION ADOPTED

After two weeks of delay and some compromises, City Council adopted the articles of incorporation of the Capital Development Foundation.

Councilman David Speck proposed this idea during the last Council election, and it has now come to fruition. He explained the concept in an earlier interview. “The city has a number of capital needs,” he said. “This foundation would raise private funds to meet some of those needs, thus freeing some city dollars. It has been done very successfully in other places, and I think it will work here.”

For two years, nonprofit organizations have fought against the foundation, fearing that it would compete with them for funding. Speck made one amendment to the articles of incorporation Tuesday night that seems to have addressed at least some of those concerns. “We are going to set a minimum contribution to the foundation of $25,000 and a minimum long-term pledge of $50,000,” he said.

Woodson asked about the number of members that will be on the Foundation Board of Directors and was told that there will be nine voting members and some ex-officio members. Councilwoman Claire Eberwein asked about increasing the minimum contribution.

“I would hope that the Board of Directors would consider increasing the minimum contribution to keep up with inflation,” she said.

City Attorney Ignacio Pessoa told her that any change in the minimums would require an amendment to the articles of incorporation and that would require a vote of Council. With that, the articles of incorporation were adopted by a 5-2 vote, with Cleveland and Councilwoman Redella “Del” Pepper voting against the measure.

“I just don’t think it is right for us to be asking developers or other people to contribute to this,” Cleveland said.

ARTS FESTIVAL WILL BE REALITY

In September, Alexandria will hold its first Festival of the Arts.

The Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association proposed this new festival sometime ago, but it has met with some opposition from the arts community who fear that it will compete with their own art events.

“I hope that Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association (ACVA) has received this e-mail from the Del Ray Artisans and is going to consider some of the suggestions that Pat Miller has made,” Eberwein said. “I would really like to see ACVA reserve a dedicated seat for a member of the arts community, and I hope that ACVA will promote the other festivals such as Art on the Avenue.”

Jo Anne Mitchell, the executive director of ACVA, assured Council that the group will promote other events. “We are happy to promote special events that anyone is planning throughout this festival,” she said. “We have also suggested that the Del Ray Artisans have a display at King Street Gardens during the festival.”

On Sept. 13 and 14, five blocks of King Street will be closed to traffic and turned into a street fair for artists from around the country. ACVA expects to attract several thousand people to the city during the two-day event.

“We certainly have learned some things from this,” said Speck. “Perhaps we could have communicated better with certain groups. Our only purpose in planning this event is to promote the city and bring people here to our retail businesses, our restaurants and our hotels. This has always been ACVA’s goal.”

Donley spoke about traffic. “This is an arts festival, not an automobile festival,” he said. “We are going to promote Metro use.”

Mitchell told Council about an agreement with Metro. “If we promote them, they are going to promote us,” she said.

The festival was approved unanimously.