Proposed Bus Station: Bolton and Florence Avenue

In the Town Talk today, there is an article noting that plans for the proposed Bolton Avenue/Florence Avenue bus transfer station are on track.  Ms. Cook and I attended the council meeting, last year, where an item on the agenda was to approve the city’s purchase of the property for possible development of a bus transfer station.  In that meeting, Ms. Cook very forcibly objected to anything that would negatively affect this area of town.  The Cooks and I are both homeowners on Florence Avenue and the idea of a rowdy bus station, with who knows what drifting in and out at all hours, was a little unsettling.  However, we met with Kay Michiels, and she assured that the city was only looking to improve the area and not further blight it.  We further lodged our concerns about another ugly ill built government building that would fall apart within 20-30 years and detract from some of the historical aspects of the area.  Again, we were assured that anything done would be “historically sensitive” and that city already had plans to apply for “beautification” grants that would not only fund signage and plantings down Bolton Avenue, but would also fund plantings so many feet down Monroe Street.  We were both told that we would be put on the an advisory committee and give ideas and suggestions regarding the architecture, plantings, signage, etc.  Further, as we understand it, this is only going to be a transfer station where people transfer from one bus to the other, rather than gathering there to catch a bus.  So, this all sounded good to me.

As far as I am concerned, I don’t think anything could hurt Monroe Street in its present state. Especially after one of the most prominent houses on Monroe Street (the Provosty home that was sold to Ratcliff) has been chopped up and moved. Have you been by lately?  Isn’t an empty lot with bricks scattered everywhere and an ugly flimsy piece of [plastic?] shoved up to form a haphazard fence just lovely?  That REALLY improved our street. 

Anyway, I won’t beat a dead horse there.  Hopefully, I will be getting a letter in the mail or a call from the City in the next few months making good on their promise of keeping me and Ms. Cook in the loop regarding the design of the bus station.  I have faith in the city and know that plans for revitalization are at heart of our very progressive City Leaders.  I am also a very proud and vocal supporter of the SPARC plan and what it can do to improve Alexandria.  THUMBS UP Mayor and City staff!

One last thing, I think it interesting that the paper again refers to Florence Avenue as “Mansion Row”.  Many people have casually called Florence Avenue “Mansion Row”, including Myron Lawson and other council members, due to the four large homes located in a row.  Since some of the historic mansions in the area have been torn down, or land sold off during the depression and bungalows built in between, it is rare to have four large homes, built circa 1900, still in a row.  The Historical Association, and me personally, have been advocating for an ordinance to officially make “Mansion Row” a local historic district.  This would bring two good things: 1) Local recognition; 2) the designated area eligible for State Tax credits and other incentives.  As far as I know, it would only take: 1) Passing the ordinance; and 2) a map drawn up of the historic district.  Then, by being recognized as a local historic district, it would make any home/building in that area eligible to apply to the State Tax Credit Program.  I have written Louis Marshall and have spoken with him about it.  I have also spoken with the HPC about it.  To date, it seems that no one has taken an interest in the project.  But, interestingly enough, this street is loosely known as “Mansion Row”.   Let’s make it official!!!!!

If there is anyone wishing to know if they are already in a local historic area or eligible for tax credits, please feel free to contact me.  Or you can click on the link above to read the State Tax Credit program requirements.

WE can do this!

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