Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Losing City’s Charm

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Losing City’s Charm

The Naval Reserve Association building.

The Naval Reserve Association building.

How depressing is it to see the beauty and charm of a grand old building (see accompanying photo) destroyed so quickly and conclusively. That is what I am experiencing now after the almost overnight removal of the Naval Reserve Association building in the 1600 block of King Street. Beautiful architecture turned into a pile of broken bricks, ripped up drywall, twisted metal studs, and broken glass … then hauled off to some unknown and unmarked graveyard, never to be seen again.

Now I am supposed to be enthused by the prospect of seeing a modern, grotesque hotel arising from that barren ground and reaching over 50 feet into the air, blocking much of the scenic skies viewable from my front porch. Why should I be enthused? What is this all for? Money? Jobs?

All I see is the decline of the historic charm of the city with this latest change, which is what attracted me to come and live in Alexandria 40 years ago. In a few more years, I will no longer see any of that charm any longer. How did we get to this point? Did we not elect officials who wanted to preserve our charm and historic nature? Maybe not.

My view is that this hotel was not necessary. Nor should it have been approved. Besides obscuring my view of the sky, the development will remove some grand old trees along Harvard Street, change the nature of the traffic flow and greatly increase the frequency of vehicle travel on the street, and increase the noise level in the evening and early morning as revelers make their way home after an evening of partying. Furthermore, we already have five hotels and a timeshare within three blocks of the site already.

If this type of development continues, the city’s charm will eventually be destroyed and it will be time for me and others of a like mind to move elsewhere. Is there anyway for us to stop it? Yes, there is. We can vote against those who voted for this development and others of a similar nature. In this case, the vote was 7-0 so we do not need to look very hard to determine which ones need to go. We just need to be sure that those running against the incumbents stand for what we want … a city that is committed to conserving our architecture, history, and culture and are opposed to the destructive development that seems to be continuously ongoing under the current leadership.

What is being done to the city is shameful.

James Melton