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Neighborhood poll reveals widespread opposition to Potomac Yard arena

Neighborhoods next to the proposed $2 billion arena at Potomac Yard are against the project, according to results from a recent poll.

Of the 496 survey respondents from the Del Ray Citizens Association, Hume Springs Civic Association, Lynhaven Civic Association and the Rosemont Citizens Association, 58% oppose the project, 29% support it, 12% have mixed feelings and just under 1% aren’t sure.

The survey was created with Zoho and fielded from Feb. 13 to Feb. 26 to more than 1,200 members from the four associations. There was an overall response rate of 43%.

The top concerns for residents were:

  1. Increased traffic and congestion
  2. Impact on resident parking
  3. Cost to Alexandria taxpayers
  4. Public subsidies to private organizations
  5. Cost to Virginia taxpayers

The Coalition to Stop the Arena at Potomac Yard said that the poll was a confirmation.

“Alexandria residents do not want this two billion-dollar white elephant,” said coalition organizer Andrew Macdonald, a former vice mayor. “We don’t need the noise, the traffic, or the pollution, and the city needs to concentrate on important challenges like housing, education and sewage issues.”

Vice Mayor also opposes arena

The embattled project was dealt a decisive blow last week when the Virginia General Assembly refused to include it in its fiscal year 2025 budget, prompting even Vice Mayor Amy Jackson to publicly remove her support. Only three months ago, Jackson and her City Council colleagues sat onstage in Potomac Yard as Mayor Justin Wilson congratulated Monumental Sports and Entertainment owner Ted Leonsis on choosing to move the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals from D.C. to Potomac Yard. Jackson, who is running for mayor, took a selfie with Leonsis after the event, but the next three months proved disastrous for the development.

“Fully expected it,” Jackson tweeted on March 6. “It was not ready for prime time. Let’s start discussing another path for an entertainment district without an arena but will have affordable family-centric activities for our youth and families.”

Jackson is the first member of City Council to go against the project, although she is joined in her disapproval by one of her Democratic opponents, Steven Peterson. A third mayoral candidate, City Council Member Alyia Gaskins, says that her interest is maintained by the project’s economic potential.

After the announcement of the arena on Dec. 13, the city embarked on a series of community meetings to educate the public and solicit feedback. No future public discussions, pop-ups or information sessions were listed as of last week.

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