The Interior Department is evaluating whether a 50-acre federal park south of Old Town Alexandria should be sold to the highest bidder as part of the Reagan administration's federal land sales program.
A General Services Administration survey released this week concludes that the so-called Jones Point park should be removed from the federal land inventory because the "highest and best use of the land may be residential development," according to a GSA official familiar with the case.
"All hell will break loose when the residents hear this," said George S. Colyer, chief of comprehensive planning for Alexandria. "We would not like to hear that it is going to be sold."
Colyer said the city, which maintains the park under a year-old agreement with Interior, has planned public hearings in October on a five-year plan for upgrading its facilities. The improvements, Colyer said, are necessary because the National Park Service "hasn't given the park enough attention."
"We're working. . . very closely with Congressman Stan Parris (R-Va.) on this," Colyer said. "I'm sure he's going to be surprised about GSA's announcement."
Dick Leggitt, Parris' chief aide, said the representative will support the city "whatever they want to do."
The GSA recommendation needs Interior's approval before the land can be offered for sale. Interior officials have balked previously at having their properties reviewed by GSA and earlier this year got into a heated controversy over a plan which would have surveyed the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge and Research Center in Maryland for possible sale. GSA eventually canceled the Patuxent survey.
The Jones Point park extends almost equally to the north and south of--but not underneath--the overland western span of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The U.S. Department of Transportation owns the strip of land under the bridge. Although normally regarded as part of the park, some of that area is now being used to stockpile materials and supplies being used in redecking the bridge.
GSA has separately recommended that 10 acres of undeveloped lawn areas associated with Interior's Bureau of Mines Avondale Research Center on the Prince George's-District line should be sold. Interior officials have not replied to GSA on either proposal, said B. Michael O'Hara, director of technical surveys for GSA.
Interior spokesman G. Philip Million said National Park Service and Bureau of Mines officials are reviewing the recommendation. "We always reply; it just takes time," Million said. "I can't prejudge what they will say."
GSA officials have, in the past, recommended disposing of the old government-owned Ford Plant adjacent to Jones Point. That building is on a 10-acre parcel owned by GSA and is used as a warehouse and motor pool.
GSA Public Building Commissioner Richard O. Haase met last week with Alexandria Mayor Charles Beatley and City Manager Douglas Harman to discuss a swap in which the federal government would get a warehouse away from the waterfront and the city would get the choice parcel of waterfront property. City officials have said they want to develop the old Ford Plant for retail and recreational uses.
Colyer said city and federal officials agree that GSA should move forward with a notice to developers for proposals for the Ford Plant. "We hope the developer will sensitively and intelligently come up with a development plan," he said.