Residents of North Old Town, faced with multiple redevelopments in their area in the coming years, are asking other Alexandrians how land that for the past 60-plus years has been the site of a now-closed power plant should be used.
The North Old Town Independent Citizens’ Association has sent out a link to an online survey to other civic associations, asking for responses in the next month.
“We need everybody to weigh in because this has impact beyond North Old Town,” said Tom Soapes, president of the group. “We want to get as many responses as we can.”
The NRG power plant (owned by GenOn Energy, Mirant and Pepco at different times) was closed in September 2012 after years of local pressure, and after the economics of older coal-fired power plants took a downturn. Local officials have said they hope that the site will eventually be cleared of the hulking industrial plant, and perhaps the adjacent Pepco substation.
The unscientific poll, at www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZQMHJSM, will help the group guide city officials, Soapes said. In the past, the association has expressed its preference for “a park atmosphere” for the 25-acre site, which is owned by Pepco, he said. But the group has not taken a formal position.
The survey offers residents development choices that include parks and open space, mixed-use developments, purely residential or purely commercial buildings. A subsequent question drills deeper into the type of open space that is preferable: a sports-centric space, a cultural park, an eco-park, a passive park or one with gardens, flowers and limited commercial development.
It also asks if respondents favor a trolley along the existing rail that would connect the Braddock Road Metro station “to the new park and to Old Town.”
Old Town and North Old Town residents are asked about other pending land-use changes in the neighborhood, including the Metro bus barn between Royal and Pitt streets, and Wythe and Pendleton streets, the current site of the Giant Food and ABC liquor store/office, between Pitt and St. Asaph streets.
Soapes also noted in an interview that a block-long site at 801 N. Fairfax St. has recently been sold, and the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority has sought suggestions about its properties in North Old Town, the remnants of a historic African American community known as “The Berg.”