To the Editor:
I need to respond to your front page article in the Aug. 27, 2015 Alexandria Gazette Packet "Redeveloping and Reshaping Old Town." The article is imbalanced and implies that there is no support among Old Town residents for the waterfront redevelopment. Further, it strongly positions Townsend "Van" Van Fleet as "the leading spokesperson for residents of Old Town." Both the representation of Old Town resident attitudes and the description of Mr. Van Fleet are partisan positions, surprising to see on the front page of the Gazette Packet at a time when Mr. Van Fleet is running for City Council. I would have expected more balanced reporting from the Gazette Packet.
I have been a homeowner and resident in the heart of Old Town since 1994 (and Del Ray for two years prior to that). When I arrived in Alexandria one of my first observations was that the city was failing to capitalize on one of its greatest assets, the Potomac River waterfront. The warehouses and parking lots between Pendleton and Oronoco and between King and Duke have been an ongoing eyesore, and have limited citizen access to the waterfront, one of the defining assets of Old Town. While it is not perfect, I am thrilled that the current waterfront development is finally starting to address this issue.
One of the joys of living in Alexandria is the spirited participatory democracy. I respect and encourage every opinion, but being very vocal as Mr. Van Fleet is, does not make him a spokesperson for the residents of Old Town, nor does the vocal opposition expressed by some residents to waterfront development mean that is the attitude of all the residents of Old Town.
Old Town, Alexandria