Tuesday, May 29, 2007


In the wake of ARHA's failed attempt to win tax credits to salvage Glebe Park, the Alexandria Times last week published an editorial opposing "concentrating" public housing at the site.

"We realize the site presents difficulties but while a minority of the units could be public housing, the overwhelming majority should be a mix of workforce and market rate homes. These homes could be operated as rentals."

But just what is the current concentration of public housing around the City? Do Arlandrians really have anything to complain about?

The Office of Housing has finally published some of the statistical maps which staff routinely show at ARHA-Council work sessions and other gatherings.

And by the Growler's calculation, the map showing the locations of public housing units around town indicates some 838 or a whopping 73% of the 1,150 public housing units mandated by Resolution 830 are located in less than a square mile of Parker-Gray and Old Town.

By contrast, Arlandria has only 40 current Resolution 830 units, or 3% of all public housing. Even if the number were bumped up by moving 60 units from Bland (which was envisioned in EYA's last proposal), Arlandria would have only 8% of the total number of Resolution 830 units in Alexandria.

ARHA and City staff have stated repeatedly that the Adkins and Bland sites near Braddock Road Metro are more valuable than Glebe Park, that these sites have the best potential for market rate development that will underwrite the Glebe Park redevelopment. They also stated publicly that Arlandrians have the perception there is more public housing in their area than elsewhere because of the number of privately-owned, run-down market rate apartment buildings.

So are we seeing the containment theory at work once again in Parker-Gray, or are the affluent communities around Glebe Park better at exercising political muscle?

And if the City sells Glebe Park for private development while leaving Adkins and Bland untouched, will they essentially nullify their argument that land around Metro is so valuable it deserves the highest and best use?