Alexandria, VA

Critics of the  Taylor Run and Strawberry Run stream restoration projects will get some of their questions answered this spring.

A recent City Council memo is asking staff to schedule a legislative meeting — preferably in April — for an update on the projects, which a growing chorus say disrupt natural habitats. The issue would be raised during the oral reports portion of the Council meeting.

Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker and Councilman John Taylor Chapman drafted the memo, which was sent to the city manager’s office on March 10.

“Over the past several months, city council has received public comment, emails and other communication regarding the city’s stream restoration projects at Strawberry Run and Taylor Run,” the memo states. “We are also hopeful, that given resident concerns, staff would be able to discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by alternatives that resident groups that come forward with, as well as any fiscal impact.”

There are two upcoming legislative meetings in April — on Tuesday, April 6, and on Tuesday, April 27.

Opposition has been led by the Environmental Council of Alexandria, which also says that the city’s soil tests at Taylor Run are not accurate. City Councilwoman Amy Jackson also recently went against the Taylor Run project after the Environmental Policy Commission (EPC) advised Council to step back. Staff’s plan to clear the waterway near T.C. Williams High School and Chinquapin Park will result in the removal of 269 trees, of which they say 22% are dead.

“The proposed restoration method will degrade — not improve — the physical, chemical and biological features of the stream and the adjacent natural resources,” wrote EPC chair Kathie Hoekstra. “We believe the City needs to step back and address unanswered questions before proceeding with a project that would irreversibly impact Chinquapin Park for several decades at least.”

Photo via City of Alexandria

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