Z City Desk

Win, Place, and Show

By Amy Jackson

Alexandria, VA – Rich Strike was the 80-1 odds winner in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7. Imagine winning against those odds! Epicenter was the favorite. He supposedly was the one to beat that day, the one everyone was talking about. The horse that had proven himself nearly unbeatable, the safe choice for placing bets based on the odds.

I liken this race to the underdog of 1973, Secretariat. From birth, Secretariat (nicknamed “Big Red”) was questioned by the masses, but not by his owner or trainers. And then  ̶ Big Red won, and won big. Known to start slow at the back of the pack, he’d be ahead at the end. In 1973, Secretariat became one of only 13 horses ever to win the Triple Crown—the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont.

Alexandria is much like this when comparing our Waterfront redevelopment journey with The Wharf and National Harbor. Three locations along the river and their vibes are very different. Alexandria had a chance to make it the premier Waterfront, the first of its kind for redevelopment and revitalization along our part of the Potomac, but we were slow. National Harbor and The Wharf beat us to the punch with their revitalization and economic development initiatives. However, for as much as Alexandria won’t win the speed race of buildout, we’ll win, place, and show in other areas concerning our plans for the Waterfront. And we’ll win big.

Opportunities abound with the envisioned Alexandria Waterfront. It will be active, vibrant, and green, with Visit Alexandria already marketing its success. With design experts and community engagement, the result will be the brainchild of many individuals and organizations that have worked together for decades to accomplish a feat that is well within reach.

Over the years, the Alexandria City Council has worked diligently to activate the area along our shoreline in partnership with the Waterfront and Planning Commissions, Alexandria Renew Enterprises, the City’s Departments of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities (Arts), and Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES), Old Town Business Association and numerous civic associations. 

The Alexandria Waterfront Small Area Plan, flood mitigation initiatives, RiverRenew projects, artistic programming, and landscape design elements can all be found on Alexandria City’s website:  www.alexandriava.gov/Waterfront

The vibrancy of our waterfront property is not on land alone. Our Alexandria Waterfront hosts the historical Potomac River views, our waterways used for vessels, fishing, and swimming for centuries (with recently recovered sunken ships as extra proof). With our promise to our environment, we continue to protect our river.

Join our region in advocating for this vital cause all the time, but especially this year for the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, which was the nation’s first legislation to protect water quality.  

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Chesapeake Bay Policy and Water Resources Committee (which I chair) also celebrate this advocacy from June 4-11 as Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. Our Transportation & Environmental Services staff has gone to great lengths to assist in these critical milestones in our city, so please look for the social media posts that bring recognition and education to these water quality initiatives in Alexandria.

Our Waterfront will continue to thrive, creating a unique stop along the river that hosts tranquil parks, vibrant art, dynamic restaurants and businesses, environmentally friendly initiatives, and successful water quality management. Alexandria  ̶  for the win!

For information about Alexandria’s Waterfront, go to www.alexandriava.gov/Waterfront. To learn about The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, visit www.cbf.org. For information about the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Chesapeake Bay Policy and Water Resources Committee, which I chair, visit www.mwcog.org. For information concerning the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act:  cwa50.org.

Vice Mayor Amy Jackson, a career educator, was recently elected to her second term on the Alexandria City Council. Raised in Alexandria, she is the first ACHS (TCW) “Lady Titan” to hold a seat as an Alexandria City Councilwoman and now as Vice Mayor. She currently lives in the West End with her husband and two children who attend ACPS.

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