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Alexandria City Planners Push Ambitious Waterfront Redesign

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The plan calls for a pedestrian pier extending from the end of King Street out into the water.
Jonathan Wilson
The plan calls for a pedestrian pier extending from the end of King Street out into the water.

By Jonathan Wilson

In Virginia, thousands of residents and visitors have been charmed by Old Town Alexandria but some major changes to Old Town's waterfront could be on the way.

It's a beautiful summer day to be walking along historic King Street in Old Town, and Ginna Gordon, who's visiting all the way from California, is doing just that.

She's reached the end of King Street, a block away from the Potomac River. She turns right, down Strand Street, and sees a parking lot, some fencing, and not that much else; she turns around.

"I stopped because [Old Town] looked like it was over down here," says Gordon.

Farroll Hamer is the director of planning for the city of Alexandria. She says part of her goal in crafting a redevelopment plan for the waterfront is to make it so the charm of Old Town doesn't stop between the end of King Street and the water.

A highlight of the plan would turn the end of King Street into a pedestrian pier extending hundreds of feet into the Potomac.

The plan also calls for more waterfront restaurants, and better public transit from the water into Old Town and beyond, and four more acres of green space along the water, green space Haymer says people would actually use, unlike the Waterfont park that's here now.

"When I come down here, every few days or so, there's often nobody in this park on a beautiful sunny day, because there isn't quite enough to do here," says Haymer.

The planning department hopes to release a more detailed version of the Waterfront plan this fall.

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