City Council candidate Boyd Walker (D) reiterated his opposition to rezone Alexandria’s waterfront and spoke of his commitment to historical preservation at his campaign kickoff Monday at in Old Town.
With a “Don’t Rezone the Waterfront!” poster taped to the wall next to his campaign banner, Walker spoke of his hope to “save” several sites in Old Town.
“I still feel we can save West’s Point from development,” Walker said in regards to a site next to that at different times was occupied by warehouses and a wharf. George Washington departed from the point to Philadelphia in 1789, according to the .
The site was discussed , which analyzed the city’s redevelopment plan.
“This is a major important site in our nation’s history,” Walker said.
Walker, a 1986 graduate of , was a cofounder of Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan but left the group when he decided to run for council.
At a council meeting in February, Walker called the city’s waterfront redevelopment plan “the wrong plan for lifetimes to come.”
Walker said Monday he thinks a museum should be part of any development plan, making the waterfront area a place to visit “and not just a place for restaurants.”
Beyond the waterfront, Walker said he’d like to “save” the Old Town Theater and the Carver Nursery School by making them historical sites. He said he believes the city could purchase the theater for $3 million and the Carver Nursery School for $675,000.
He said he’d like to see the Old Town Theater remain a theater.
“Movie theaters and live theater is very important,” he said. “The arts are very important.”
Walker advocated the creation of a streetcar system all over the city. He mentioned the city’s plans for bus rapid transit down a section of Route 1 with hopes for eventual conversion to streetcar. He’d like to see a bigger network.
“It’s an attractive way to move people. … It’s clean, it gets people out of their car and it builds quality of life around it,” said Walker, adding that the H Street corridor in Washington, D.C., is “a good example" of what streetcars can do to a community.
The H Street line has been in the works since 2003 and the District hopes to begin operation of the streetcar in the summer of 2013. In the last several years, trendy restaurants and nightspots have popped up in what was once a blighted D.C. neighborhood.
Walker said good transportation planning was something his mother worked toward when she was a member of council from 1994 to 2000.
Lois Walker introduced her son at his campaign kickoff, saying she didn’t always agree with him on certain issues but never doubted his commitment.
“I admire him for standing up for what he believes,” Lois Walker said.
Boyd Walker is one of 12 Democrats running for city council. Six will be selected for the General Election ballot in a primary scheduled for June 12.