Alexandria, VA

A plan to replace a disused pier would help the Old Dominion Boat Club bring more boats to Alexandria and hopefully make the waterfront a little cleaner.

In plans submitted to the City of Alexandria, the boat club in Old Town laid out its vision for replacing an outdated and disused wharf just to the south of the club’s location on The Strand with a new pier and floating dock.

The current pier is a fixed, L-shape, but hasn’t been used for mooring since the Boat Club moved to its present location. According to the application, the boat club plans to replace the existing pier with a combination of fixed piers extending eastward and a floating pier to the south.

Additionally, the boat club said the current pier is too low in the water and its fixed nature means that organic material and trash are blocked in and collected near the river’s edge. The new fixed pier would be higher than the other, allowing refuse to be flushed away from the waterfront.

Other measures in the application would involve removing old and unused piles in the water that currently slow the water and keep debris trapped up at the river’s edge.

According to the application:

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. 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.

Alexandria’s Old Dominion Boat Club was founded in 1880 and has relocated three times throughout its life, most recently to the foot of Prince Street after the city threatened eminent domain to take the building they had been located in since 1924 — currently Waterfront Park.

The application notes that the new wharf would encourage recreational waterfront use at the pier while the main Prince Street location would support transient boat mooring and daily marine uses.

The item was scheduled to be voted on at a Planning Commission meeting tonight (Tuesday) but has been deferred.

Photo (top) via City of Alexandria, (bottom) via Google Maps

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The new art project coming to Waterfront Park (1 Prince Street) next year will feature a series of silhouettes representing the city’s history of slavery.

The concept renderings from artist Olalekan Jeyifous feature four three-dimensional silhouettes, each roughly 11 feet tall, with industrial imagery carved into the bodies. The figures will face out towards the river. The ground of the plaza will be covered with a pattern referencing African-American quilting — mixing traditional symbols with ones that represent industries from the city’s past — like an armory and rail tracks.

The art would replace the Mirror Mirror installation — which also reflected a piece of the city’s history. The displays are part of a series by different artists called Site See: New Views in Old Town.

Diane Ruggiero, director of the Office of the Arts, unveiled the designs to the Waterfront Commission yesterday (Tuesday) morning. The designs were approved at the Arts Commission meeting that evening.

Ruggiero said Jeyifous visited Alexandria in the spring and went on a tour around town. Jeyifous’ visit to the Freedom House (1315 Duke Street) — once the headquarters of the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States — was one of the visits that ultimately helped shape the project, Ruggiero said.

The artwork is expected to be installed in March, according to Ruggiero.

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Update 3 p.m. — For the second week in a row, the correct answer is lighthouse related. The Mirror Mirror project is inspired by the Fresnel lens of Alexandria’s Jones Point Lighthouse, according to the City of Alexandria website.

We’re back with Friday trivia!

Like last week, we’ll post a trivia question at 9:30 a.m. Comments are disabled to keep people from posting the answers. Play fair, make your best guess, and check back in at 3 p.m. when we post the answer.

For today’s trivia question, we’re taking a look at the Mirror Mirror art display at Waterfront Park at the foot of King Street. The display was created by SOFTlab, a New York-based design studio led by artist and architect Michael Szivos. The interior’s surface is tinted with full-spectrum of color with lights that respond to sound.

The artists cited a specific influence on the design of the project. Was it a kaleidoscope, a zoetrope, a Fresnel lens, or a dispersive prism?

Staff Photo by Jay Westcott

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Improvements and changes are coming to the Waterfront Park over the next few weeks.

Mirror Mirror, the circular art exhibit currently on display in the park, had originally been scheduled to remain on display through the end of next month, but at a Waterfront Commission Meeting on Tuesday staff said the installation will be removed the first week of November.

The project briefly went dark when the waterfront flooded but has since been re-lit. A new project from Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous is expected to replace it next year.

Staff also said a portion of the park will be closed for 3-5 weeks to replace lawn panels. Several light fixtures in the park will also be replaced with LED lighting. Lighting in the older section of the park south of King Street was noticeably darker than the area at the foot of King Street, staff said, so the new LED lights should equalize that.

Further south, the city is still struggling with debris at Windmill Hill Park. Some of the trash is brought in by the tides, but staff is laying some of the blame at the webbed feet of mischievous local geese.

The park is still within a one-year warranty with the contractor that built the project; staff said they are currently in discussions over the condition of the shoreline. Goose mitigation efforts are also in place to help hold back some of the debris.

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