Alexandria, VA

The Old Dominion Boat Club (ODBC) will present the Alexandria Planning Commission in November (Nov. 5) with a plan to build a floating wharf and pier outside its clubhouse at 0 Prince Street.

“The floating pier will provide facilities for transient boat mooring for larger boats due to the water depth along its expanse and for rowing crew shells and chase boats either for planned events/regattas or emergency needs,” according to an application for the special use permit.

The application continues, “The ODBC also proposes to add a floating wharf over the shallow water in its riparian rights to allow and support current and new uses that include small boat mooring and launch and retrieval of crew shells and kayaks to support increased recreational use of the Potomac River.”

The total square footage for the project is 2,688 square feet, and the club noted in its application that it will remove the floating structures if the city needs the space for flood mitigation infrastructure improvements.

“The proposed new floating wharf at the site would encourage increased recreation use of the site and support ODBC water dependent uses,” notes the application.

The city issued a certificate of occupancy for the ODBC Clubhouse at 0 Prince Street in 2017. The club was previously located at the foot of King Street. That property was exchanged with the city for a number of nearby lots downriver in order to build a public walkway and make flood mitigation improvements.

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The second round of the Alexandria Back to Business (ALX B2B) grant program opens at the end of September, and $2.4 million is available for qualifying small businesses and nonprofits to cope with financial losses related to the pandemic.

“The program criteria for Round Two has been expanded so additional types of businesses and nonprofit childcare providers will be eligible to apply for a grant,” according to the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, which is receiving the applications. “Grants will be awarded in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the number of employees working for the business.”

City Council approved the funding at its meeting on Tuesday, September 8. The application period will start on Wednesday, September 30, at 8 a.m. and end on October 5 at noon. All submissions must be made online and businesses that received a grant in round one are ineligible.

To qualify for a grant, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • 25% negative revenue impact attributable to the COVID-19 health emergency
  • Licensed business in the City of Alexandria
  • Physical location within the City of Alexandria
  • In operation as of March 14, 2020
  • For-profit small business
  • Any entity (for-profit or nonprofit) that provides full-day or part-day childcare services to children 0-13 years of age and is licensed or regulated by a local ordinance or state licensing body
  • Business is current on all local business taxes or is on a payment plan with the City
  • Not currently involved in business bankruptcy proceedings
  • Intend to remain operating in Alexandria through December 31, 2020
  • Between 0 – 100 employees
  • Locally owned and operated
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Kittens Acadia and Archie are best friends who have spent most of the lives together and need a new home.

The pair came to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria in need of medical treatment. Archie had had an infection that badly damaged his eye, requiring it to be removed, and Acadia had an ear infection that was fixed with medication, although it has left her with a bit of a head tilt.

“While Acadia is the more outgoing of the duo, once he gets to know you, Archie is a sweet cuddle bug who loves to pounce and toys and nestle in laps,” said Gina Hardter, spokesperson for the AWLA.

If you’re interested in learning more or scheduling time to meet the cats virtually or in person, visit AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment.

Photos via AWLA

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The Alexandria City School Board on Thursday (September 17) will consider moving forward with changing the name of Matthew Maury Elementary School, which is named after Confederate leader and noted oceanographer. The placeholder name would be “The Parker-Gray Rosemont School.”

Maury was the first Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory and the first hydrographer of the U.S. Navy. He was also special agent for the Confederacy during the Civil War and has a statue in Richmond. The School Board received a petition from at least 100 signatures from city residents on August 6, less than a month after the board unanimously directed Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., to begin the name change process for T.C. Williams High School.

“Matthew Fontaine Maury was a confederate officer who fought in support of slavery,” states the petition, which was signed by Del. Charniele Herring, Del. Mark Levine, City Councilman Canek Aguirre, Councilman John Taylor Chapman and Councilman Mo Seifeldein. “While his efforts in oceanography were noteworthy, his actions surrounding the Civil War and slavery were indefensible.”

The petition continues, “He attempted to negotiate a slave trade from the United States to Brazil in order to help his fellow southerners who would lose a great deal of monty if they lost their ability to sell their slaves. He invented an early version of the torpedo which was used by the confederates to sink Union ships. He tried to create a New Virginia Colony in Mexico after the Civil War where slave labor would continue with a new label of indentured servitude. He convinced nearly 4,000 confederate soldiers to defect before his plan was thwarted by unrest in Mexico.”

The T.C. name change will go before the board next spring, and the board will have to decide on a timeline for a public engagement process and a public hearing for the potential Maury name change.

“It looks feasible to run the two processes together (in the spring),” ACPS Executive Director of Communications Helen Lloyd told ALXnow. “However, the board and the superintendent will have make that decision.”

Photo via ACPS

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Lee Raynes has been humbled by community support after her Del Ray home burned down on Saturday, September 12.

At around 7 p.m., Raynes, who owns Bellies and Babies Consignment Boutique on Mount Vernon Avenue, was on her front porch when she smelled smoke. At first she thought it was her dinner burning in the oven, but knew it was more serious after opening the front door of her house.

“The fire marshal told me that it was my drier in the basement, which wasn’t even on,” Raynes told ALXnow. “The biggest problem is that the structural integrity of the house is compromised, because the cross beams on the main level are charred. It looks like I will have to tear down to foundation and rebuild.”

Raynes’ 10-year-old son was not home at the time, and their 16-year-old cat died in the fire.

Within 48 hours, the Del Ray Business Association organized a GoFundMe campaign for Raynes that has since raised more than $11,000.

“Thankfully, Lee and her 10-year-old son are both safe,” the DRBA said. “However, Lee left the house with only the clothes on her back; the family lost their cat in the fire; and their home suffered significant damage in the floorboards on the main level and smoke damage on the third floor… We are in awe of Lee’s constant upbeat attitude despite everything 2020 has thrown at her.”

Raynes said she’s looking at silver linings.

“This community raised $10,000 in less than 12 hours, and I don’t even know 75% of people on that list,” she said. “It’s been very humbling. I started my store to help the community and to feel like they have a village, and it’s me who’s now thriving from the village.”

Image via GoFundMe

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A candle that fell on a bed has left nine residents and three animals displaced from a West End apartment building.

The Alexandria Fire Department was called on Tuesday night to an apartment building in the 4700 block of West Braddock Road at 10:40 p.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 15), and quickly extinguished a fire in a second floor bedroom.

“The unit where the fire originated was condemned due to fire and water damage, and residents were able to find alternative accommodations,” AFD reported in a news release. “An adjacent unit was also condemned due to water and overhaul damage, and the Red Cross assisted the residents in finding alternative accommodations.”

The fire caused an estimated $75,000 in damage, according to AFD.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Beyer Condemns Trump for Coronavirus Statement on Blue States— “This is quite simply one of the most appalling and inhuman statements ever uttered by an American President.” [Twitter]

Chewish Deli Set to Open First Permanent Location — “When Linzey stumbled upon the Pendleton Carryout Co. space for sale this summer at 807 Pendleton St., he wasn’t exactly looking for a store location. But, Linzey knew that if a spot in Old Town ever opened up, he would want to take it.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria EMS Captain Appointed to State Board — “EMS Captain Lisa Simba was recently appointed to the State EMS Advisory Board by Gov. Ralph Northam. Capt. Simba has been with AFD for more than 30 years.” [Twitter]

Art League Offering Online Classes — “All skill levels are welcome. Select from more than 50 classes.and workshops. They range from basic painting and drawing instruction to computer-based digital illustration and GIF creation. Classes meet via Zoom. In between sessions, students can stay in touch through Google Classroom or by email. And because classes are virtual, students do not have to be in the Alexandria area to participate.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — During the day, cloudy with occasional showers. High 74F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%. At night, periods of rain. Low 63F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Foundation Relations Manager — “Supports the National Military Family Association Development department in the development and implementation of a comprehensive foundation grants development program.” [Indeed]

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Members of the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review didn’t mince words against the proposed development of the Heritage Old Town.

“Why are you asking for our opinion if what we get back isn’t actually changed?” BAR Chair Christine Roberts said at the September 2 meeting. “It’s just more lipstick on a pig.”

The plan to demolish four 1970s-era buildings on the southeast Old Town property were sent back to the developer in June to give the community more time for feedback. The plan for the property, which is situated in the Old Town Historic District, was then rejected earlier this month by the board after members said that changes made to the proposal were not improved upon.

New York-based architect Asland Capital Partners, was heavily criticized by board members for designing a complex that does not fall in line with the character of Old Town. The project, which borders along South Patrick and North Washington streets,  includes the addition of 777 apartments at structures up to seven stories tall, and includes 195 affordable housing units.

Board Member Lynn Neihardt said that the architect’s buildings don’t belong in Old Town, and that the city is getting poorly designed buildings “under the guise of providing affordable housing.” She also said that there is an underlying feeling that the property doesn’t need to fit within design guidelines because it’s not in an area populated by tourists.

“We need a feeling of smaller buildings in the front with maybe taller heights behind, which has been done over and over again, very successfully in D.C. and other parts of Old Town,” Neihardt said. “The buildings, to me, speak Ballston, Crystal City, but not Old Town. They’re nothing like Robinson Landing and the other excellent examples of buildings that fit into their context.”

BAR Member John Sprinkle objected to the mass, height, scale and general architecture of the proposal.

“I gotta tell you, you got to go back to the drawing board,” Sprinkle said. “It doesn’t fly in this city.”

The project will go to the Planning Commission and City Council in February 2021.

Images via City of Alexandria

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Need a good laugh? On Thursday (September 17), Capital Laughs and Cry Baby DC are teaming up for COVID-friendly evening of outdoor stand-up comedy.

The show will be held in the parking lot area of The Loop (215 N. Payne Street) and will adhere to Virginia’s COVID guidelines. Tickets for the show cost $10 apiece and it starts at 8 p.m.

“For this show we’ll, again, be taking every precaution,” said comedian Jack Coleman, who runs Capital Laughs, in an email. “Currently, Virginia allows for outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people (or half capacity), so we’re limiting tickets to 50 — well below Virginia rules.”

Masks are required to attend, and customers will have their temperatures taken at the door.

“Nationally, stand-up has been destroyed,” Coleman said. “These shows won’t fix that, but we hope by giving this a shot in a responsible way we can help keep comics engaged and writing (and tbh sane) and audience members laughing (and tbh sane as well).”

Photo via Eventbrite

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The Alexandria Board of Architectural Review will consider a permit to demolish/capsulate the Regal Potomac Yard movie theater, which closed in March due to the pandemic and never reopened.

The one-story theater first opened in 1998, and “is an example of a typical multi-screen movie theater built during the late 1990’s throughout the region,” according to a city staff report.

In its place will go a pump station that is part of Virginia Tech’s massive Innovation Campus development, and will handle sanitary sewer flows for Virginia Tech’s Sewer to Wastewater Energy Exchange system.

As previously reported, this and next month, the BAR and the Planning Commission will receive half a dozen plans for the 1.9 million square-foot mixed use North Potomac Yard development.

The area was a rail yard from 1906 until 1989, and the staff report stipulates that all eventual construction “will stop on the site if any buried structural remains (wall foundations, wells, privies, cisterns, etc.) or concentrations of artifacts are discovered during development,” and that a city archaeologist will need to record the finds.

The plan will go to City Council this fall for approval.

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There are no injuries after a two-alarm fire that displaced a family in Old Town early on Wednesday morning (September 16).

Traffic was briefly closed around the three-level home in the 600 block of South St. Asaph Street. Responding units arrived at around 6 a.m. and found the family safely outside their home and saw “heavy fire at the rear of the building near the roofline,” according to Alexandria Fire Department spokeswoman Raytevia Evans.

“Firefighters were unsure if the fire was in the rear or in the attic, so they did a complete 360 and found the fire in a third story addition,” Evans said. “Within 10 minutes crews made entry and completely extinguished the fire. The residents were outside the home when we arrived, and they confirmed that their smoke alarms went off at the time of the incident. “

The home was heavily damaged by smoke and fire, and the roof of one neighboring home was damaged. The family is currently displaced and made their own arrangements, Evans said.

Fire investigators are at the scene determining the cause and origin of the fire.

NOTIFICATION :: The 600 block of South St. Asaph Street is closed due to a structure fire. Several intersections are…

Posted by Police Department, City of Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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Four more COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Alexandria, bringing the death toll from the virus to 66. Three of the deaths occurred last month, and the most recent casualty was reported today by the Virginia Department of Health.

Three of the fatalities occurred in August and went unreported for a month until a periodic review of vital records, according to the city.

There are now or have been 3,628 cases and 305 hospitalizations in the city since the first case was reported on March 11.

Demographic, Age and Sex Breakdown

Latino residents are the hardest hit with 1,704 reported cases, followed by Black residents with 743 cases, white residents with 705 cases, Asian or Pacific Islander residents with 130 cases, 83 cases classified as “other” and four native American cases.

There are or have been 1,885 women (with 34 deaths) and 1,731 men (with 32 deaths) in Alexandria with the virus. The only age group that has not experienced a death so far are children and teenagers.

  • 80+     — 29 deaths, 116 cases
  • 70-79 — 19 deaths, 128 cases
  • 60-69 — Three deaths, 276 cases
  • 50-59 — 12 deaths, 459 cases
  • 40-49 — One death, 640 cases
  • 30-39 — One death, 847 cases
  • 20-29 — One death, 667 cases
  • 10-19  — Zero deaths, 259 cases
  • 0-9     — Zero deaths, 225 cases

Testing Update

There have also been 35,474 (polymerase chain reaction) tests administered in the city so far, 4,462 antibody tests and the city’s seven-day positivity rate is now at 5.2% and stands behind Arlington County.

  • Arlington County has 3,779 cases, 146 deaths and a 3.8% seven-day positivity rate
  • Fairfax County has 20,035 cases, 585 deaths and a 6.3% seven-day positivity rate
  • Loudoun County has 6,532 cases, 119 deaths and a 8.3% seven-day positivity rate
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