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Neighborhood: Old Town June 28-July 4

ENOUGH ALREADY! - Your friendly neighborhood columnist has had it up to here with all of the pandering and "make nice" that our city leaders are directing to the folks who are bringing you National Harbor.

Would someone please explain to this 40-year Old Town resident how he will see his quality of life improve when the monolith across the river is up and running shortly. My answer is no way. I think I went over the top when I read an item in the Gazette Packet earlier this month about a briefing for City Council by the important-sounding National Harbor Collaborative. As the Gazette piece put it, the Collaborative identified some 18 initiatives that the city move on immediately to "maximize" the economic possibilities that National Harbor will bring to our old port city.

It goes without saying that the Collaborative includes all of the usual suspects when this town senses an easy payday -- the Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Association and other stakeholders. Absent within this august group, to my knowledge, is anyone from the Office of Historic Alexandria. Councilman Paul Smedberg noted this. "Why are they not included?" he asked. "Is it because you don't want them?" he asked the Collaborative. The Chamber president, Richard Dorman, assured Smedberg that the Office of Historic Alexandria would have a role in collateral special projects -- whatever that means.

Smedberg reminded the Collaborative that Alexandria's historic significance is the City's prime asset. "I would think they should be a part of the main committee," he said. I would think so, too. I also think that National Harbor's impact on Alexandria, particularly Old Town, will be more of an annoyance than an economic boom. More restaurants? Where.? More hotels? Forget it. More traffic? Probably. More foot traffic to further clog our old streets? Without a doubt. Please National Harbor Collaborative. Tell this friendly Old Town correspondent he's wrong. And if so, how?

ALEXANDRIA BLACK HISTORY - The History Museum continues its "Summer of Music" series tonight (June 28) with a panel discussion and film screening of "If You Only Knew,"an award-winning documentary that charts jazz singer Jimmy Scotts's career. On Saturday, July 7, the museum, features a film screening and panel discussion of "Dance Party the Teenarama Story." For more information, visit the Museum website at www.alexblackhistory.org.

<1b>- Bob Feldkamp