Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

One Step Closer to a 50-Meter Pool at Chinquapin

The first phase of the Chinquapin Swim Center feasibility study—to determine if a 50-meter competition pool can be accommodated on the Chinquapin site—has been completed by the consulting group and the answer is “Yes!”  In fact, in the Task 1A Report, the consultants present six different schemes that have varying sets of pros and cons.

TCS&DMoreover, based on the preliminary analysis, the consultants indicated that the project can be done within the city’s current budget estimate. Another interesting finding is that the current Chinquapin facility is capturing only 20% of the core aquatic users in the city, and that the other 80% of underserved core swimmers are patronizing pools with better lane space in other jurisdictions. This has been one of the key motivating factors for the Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics in our work with city officials since its inception two years ago.

The next phase of the feasibility study—Task 1B—is community participation, beginning with a community meeting on Thursday, June 12, at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at the Minnie Howard campus of T.C. Williams High School. The schematics will be on display beginning at 6:30 p.m., and around 7:00 p.m. the consultants will be facilitating small group discussions to gather input about the different schemes and about the types of programming that Chinquapin users would like the new Swim Center to offer.

Parents of swimmers and students who are on swim teams are especially encouraged to attend. This is an important opportunity for residents who value aquatics in our city to weigh in about the facility design and the features that are essential for both competitive and recreational swimming.

During the summer, the consultants will be having focus group meetings with key stakeholders. There will be another community meeting during the month of August, and the results of the community participation phase of the feasibility study will be presented to City Council in September. The current timeline has the final plan completed and excavation beginning in FY 2016 and pool construction in FY 2017.


Remembering Maya Angelou
Today is a sad day for my alma mater, Wake Forest University. Acclaimed author, poet, and civil rights activist and Reynolds Professor of American Studies Maya Angelou passed away this morning at the age of 86.

Though I did not have an opportunity to take a class from her while I was a student there, I was sitting on the quad on that bright sunny day when she delivered the commencement address to the Class of 1985.

This is how that speech is described on the Wake Forest website:

At commencement exercises on May 20, Reynolds Professor of American Studies Maya Angelou (LHD ’77) told 1,054 graduates that their destiny is “to develop the courage to dare to love, to dare to care, to dare to be significant.”

Angelou told the seniors that they are fortunate in the place and time of their birth because their futures are not oppressed by the political, religious, and economic struggles oppressing much of the world. She told them that they have the honor – and the opportunity – to make the country more than it is today, more than what James Baldwin calls “these yet to be United States.” She urged the graduates to make their actions significant so that the sacrifices their families made to educate them and the teachings of their professors will mean something.  She told the audience to think of destiny as a wheel with responsibility at its hub and she wondered whether this generation of graduates will be the one which establishes a viable, permanent good neighbor policy, which ends the famine in Africa, which eradicates the threat of nuclear disaster, and which ends racism, fleshing out the dream inherent in the words “all men are created equal.”

A fitting message for the Class of 2014 also.

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