Thursday, July 06, 2006


Time for a post-July 4 roundup. Things are fairly sleepy in old Alexandria right now, but there have been a few events of interest.

The Right Thing (Council-Style)

Last night the re-elected Mayor and City Council were inaugurated at Episcopal High School, and Andrew H. Macdonald was elected Vice Mayor without a single dissenting voice.

This ended weeks of speculation about the Vice Mayorship, which is normally awarded to the candidate who pulled in the most votes in the election. Rumors circulated that Mr. Macdonald was going to be challenged by an unnamed party (probably K. Rob Krupicka) and denied the post, which is mostly honorific. It isn't clear how plausible this story was since Del Pepper garnered the second highest vote count, which would have meant that any contender would have had to jump over both Mrs. Pepper and Mr. Macdonald.

At any rate, everything is once again peachy (at least on the surface). There were many compliments traded and many pledges offered to work harmoniously together.

And while outlining his agenda for the coming term, Mr. Macdonald mentioned Parker-Gray as well as Old Town while discussing historic preservation. In fact, the words "Parker-Gray" left his lips before any mention of Old Town. Now there's a real about face. Mr. Macdonald's right on topic as far as the Growler is concerned.

Huff huff. Those are happy Growler sounds.

Et Tu, Old Town

Never mind this morning's Washington Post story about the continuing saga of Gunston Hall, the post-war garden apartments that preservationists and affordable housing advocates have teamed to try to save from the clutches of developers.

The next stage in this drama is an upcoming Board of Zoning Appeals hearing to consider whether the City made a bona fide offer to the developer for the property.

But the real crisis behind the scenes is what appears to be a plan by City housing officials to pack Gunston Hall — once it is safely in the City's possession — with Section 8 tenants.

Consternation! That's not exactly what everyone was advocating for when they stressed the need for more workforce housing. It's been claimed there are already a few Section 8 tenants in Gunston Hall (no-one is absolutely sure) but the prospect of more is setting the citizens of Old Town on their ears.

The Growler is sympathetic but also enjoying a little schadenfreude. Now that Parker-Gray will be on an equal preservation footing with Old Town, it appears that Old Town may be getting a taste of the sometimes uncomfortable yoke of public or subsidized housing.

Et tu, Old Town!

And Speaking Of ....

everyone's favorite topic — or at least Eric's favorite topic — public housing, Parker-Gray readers may be in for some good news soon.

Earlier this year ARHA issued an RFP for the redevelopment of Glebe Park, a small brick housing project next to Dominion Power's building on Glebe Road. The place is falling apart and there are no HUD funds in the offing to perform badly needed repairs.

ARHA sweetened the RFP by offering interested developers an opportunity to take their pick of other ARHA properties as well as Glebe Park. And one of the projects in our area may be the honey pot that the finalist for the RFP has selected.

But don't get too excited yet. Apparently it's not Andrew Adkins, which as the Growler has pointed out before is too new and too dense to be the candidate.