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Coalition opposing Potomac Yard arena development to host rally on Thursday

Rendering of aerial view of Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

(Updated 2:30 p.m.) A group called the Coalition to Stop the Arena at Potomac Yard is holding a rally tomorrow near the site of the proposed arena.

For those just now waking up from a month-long coma: Washington Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis announced, along with city leaders and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, that the teams would be moving to a new arena in Potomac Yard — pending a series of approvals from various levels of government.

City, state and federal representatives said at the announcement that the announcement would be a significant economic boon to the city and accelerate development plans for Potomac Yard.

Public backlash was swift, with protestors gathering outside of the tent where the announcement was being held and jeering at officials inside.

The Coalition to Stop the Arena at Potomac Yard was formed, hot on the heels of another coalition protesting against zoning changes. Former Vice Mayor Andrew Macdonald, chair of the Environmental Council of Alexandria, said the Coalition to Stop the Arena at Potomac Yard is holding its first event on Thursday, Jan. 4, at 11 a.m. just north of the Potomac Yard south station.

“The Coalition to Stop the Arena at Potomac Yard will be holding its first media event at Potomac Yard to explain why we oppose the plan to build a sports arena in Alexandria,” Macdonald wrote. “We will answer questions about the project’s impacts on the community and taxpayers in Alexandria and Virginia.”

Macdonald led the charge, along with former Natural Resource Manager Rod Simmons, against the city’s Taylor Run Stream Restoration plans in 2021.

Last month, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP) released a summary of an economic report from consultant HR&A advisors. The summary noted that the district would generate 30,000 jobs and nearly triple the economic output compared to what was currently planned for the Potomac Yard development.

The summary faced some criticism, though, from methodology to AEDP releasing a ‘summary’ rather than the full report.

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