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Votes

Letter: ‘Demolition By Neglect’

— To the Editor:

The Yacht Basin within Windmill Hill Park is decaying at a rapid rate. It is the second best example in this city, after the Beachcomber Restaurant, of “demolition by neglect.”

Ten years ago, I and a large number of my neighbors all sat through the many meetings of the Windmill Hill Task Force addressing how the yacht basin could be reconfigured. The Task Force came up with a plan which was subsequently approved by the council. Funds were then inserted into the Capitol Improvement Plan (CIP) with a start date of about five years. Well it’s been 10 years now and the yacht basin still isn’t scheduled to be funded until 2016 ($500,000) and 2017 ($4 million). The real sad commentary on all this is that one of the city’s great benefactors, Al Voohees, in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy would have redeveloped the basin at no cost to the city, yet the Council rejected it.

Now using the “phony-baloney” excuse that the area surrounding the yacht basin has suddenly become hazard and an extreme insurance liability, the city wants to put a fence around it. The BAR, city staff and others are trying to find the right kind of fence. This is so bizarre that no-one could make this up. It is my contention that if any fence is put around the basin it will just sit there and rot away as the city just won’t find the resources to redevelop it. Subsequently, the dollars currently programmed in the out-years will eventually disappear and a completely redeveloped yacht basin within Windmill Hill Park just won’t happen.

Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet

Alexandria