News Briefs

News Briefs

<sh>Woodrow Wilson Bridge Discussion

<bt>A meeting will provide information and seek input on the proposed grade-separated design for the Telegraph Road intersections at Huntington Avenue and North Kings Highway at Cameron Elementary School, 3434 Campbell Drive, June 15 from 5:30- 9 p.m. Call 877-463- 6992 or visit

<sh>Aid to Condo Residents

<bt>The City Council voted May 25 to make changes in the Moderate Income Homeownership Program (MIHP) by increasing homeownership opportunities for tenants of apartments being converted into condominiums. The council approved an increase in the maximum loan amount for residents of properties under conversion who are purchasing units in the converted property from $20,000 to $40,000 while other program participants may now receive up to $30,000 in assistance through MIHP. This vote comes after issues were raised about condominium conversions and the inability of renters to purchase the converted units.

The council also passed an increase in the maximum income for MIHP eligibility by raising the one person limit to $71,440 from $68,000, raising the two person household limit to $80,370 from $68,700, and raising the three or more person household income limit to $89,300 from $79,500.

Allocation of up to $822,500 from the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) was approved for the MIHP to provide assistance to a projected 47 households during fiscal year 2006.

For more information contact the Office of Housing at 703-838-4622.

<sh>Real Estate Tax Due June 15

<bt>Alexandria property owners, who do not pay their real estate taxes through a mortgage escrow account, should receive the first half 2005 real estate tax bill in the mail this week. The bills will reflect the real estate tax rate of $0.915 approved by City Council last week. To avoid late payment penalty and interest, property owners should pay the total amount shown on the tax bill by June 15. Owners who do not receive their tax bill in the mail should call the Treasury Division at 703-838-4777 before June 15 to receive a duplicate bill. Failure to receive a tax bill in the mail is not grounds for waiving penalty and interest or extending the due date.

For information on real estate assessments or the assessment appeals process, call Real Estate Assessments at 703-838-4646. For information on real estate tax and refuse fee payments, late payment penalty and interest or to request a tax bill, please call the Treasury

Division at 703-838-4777.

<sh>Homeownership Preservation Grants

<bt>Residents of the City of Alexandria, who meet the

qualifications for the Affordable Homeownership Preservation (AHOP) Grant Program, may be eligible for a grant towards their second half 2005 real estate taxes. The maximum grant has been increased for 2005. The application deadline for the 2005 AHOP Program is Sept. 1. For more information, contact the City’s Tax Services Branch, City Hall, 301 King Street, Room 1700, Alexandria, VA 22314, by telephone at 703-838-4570, or by email:

<sh>Real Estate Tax Relief

<bt>City residents who are 65 years of age or older — or will become so during 2005 — or permanently and totally disabled, may be eligible for the city’s Real Estate Tax Relief Program for Elderly or Disabled Persons. Applications for this program were due by April 15. However, applications will be accepted until the June 15 tax due date, provided “good cause” is shown for failure to file by April 15. For more information, contact the City's Taxpayer Services Branch, City Hall, 301 King Street, Room 1700, Alexandria, VA 22314, by telephone at 703-838-4572, or by email:

<sh> Volunteer Opportunities

The City of Alexandria offers many opportunities for volunteers. The city is seeking volunteers for the upcoming U.S./Alexandria Birthday Celebration on Saturday, July 9, at Oronoco Bay Park, 7 N. Lee St. Volunteers for the celebration will assist with stage management and provide general logistical support.

Volunteers will be needed for the 2005 Fall Festival for the Arts on Sept. 10 and 11. Participants will serve as greeters, information assistants, and pedestrian and traffic controllers.

People interested in volunteering can become an important part of the City’s Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities. For more information about volunteer opportunities with the City, contact Debbie Brown Anderson or Jack Browand at 703-838-4343.

<sh>Juneteenth Celebration

<bt>The Alexandria Black History Museum will celebrate freedom and community Saturday, June 18 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the 900 block of Wythe Street in Alexandria with free musical performances, hands-on art and craft demonstrations, an African American merchandise market place, food vendors and more. This will mark the 12th anniversary of Juneteenth celebrations in Alexandria.

Juneteenth, or the “19th of June,” recognizes June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the southwest, more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and enforced by President Abraham Lincoln. It is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery.

This year’s festival highlights will include the Alexandria Black

History Museum’s exhibition, “Stony the Road: Desegregating American’s Schools,” and a Yoruba Language class – one of several languages spoken in Nigeria. A one-hour genealogy class will be conducted in the Watson Reading Room. Outside activities will include poetry, drumming, and two stages of Gospel Music, R&B, Jazz, and Comedy. Activities occurring on the grounds of Charles Houston Recreation Center will include face painting, Trinidadian mask-making, storytelling for all ages, and cheerleading performances.

The museum is located at 902 Wythe Street in Alexandria, just five blocks from the Braddock Road Metrorail station (yellow line). In the event of rain, most of the festival activities will be moved inside the Charles Houston Recreation Center, the Watson Reading Room and the museum. The museum is owned and operated by the City of Alexandria. Contact the Alexandria Black History Museum at 703-838-4356.

<sh>Reopening to General Aviation

<bt>General Aviation will reopen at Washington National Airport. "I am pleased that common sense prevailed in this situation," said U.S. Rep. James P. Moran. "The security concerns raised since 9/11 have had time to be fully vetted and addressed. We have been working for a couple years now to make our case with Homeland Security. That effort has paid off and General Aviation has received a green light."

While commercial service to National Airport resumed a few short months after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, General Aviation's closure has been approaching its fourth year of being closed for business. Prior to its closure, general aviation from National made 60,000 business aviation flights per year. At full service, Signature Flight Support, the sole provider of ground support general aviation services at National, generated revenues of $24 million per year. Every other airport in the country has since reopened to General Aviation services.

<sh>New Town Crier Sought

<bt>The City of Alexandria is searching for a new town crier. The city’s most recent town crier was John I. Yagerline, who passed away in April after having served since 1998. Essential attributes of a town crier are a powerful, clear voice, authority and strong sense of civic pride.

Applicants should have a powerful voice, lungs of steel and a willingness to make public appearances in early 19th century attire. A letter expressing your interest should be sent to the Office of Historic Alexandria, 220 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

A city panel of judges will review applications and finalists will

be chosen for a cry-off in City Council chambers in mid-July.