Reality Check Needed Before Pursuing Sports Complex at Potomac Yard

Reality Check Needed Before Pursuing Sports Complex at Potomac Yard

Letters to the Editor

Apart from the uglification of the area in general, including the further desecration of the scenic and historic George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) and Potomac River viewshed, infeasibility of transportation access to and from the site, extensive impacts to Del Ray and neighboring communities, and enormous funding issues — environmental impacts and constraints have been completely ignored.  

In virtually all media coverage of this issue, not once was protecting the environment mentioned, or anything about the environment, including already dangerous flooding along the GWMP from greatly increasing impervious surface runoff; unstable soils that characterize the site (and the reason the Potomac Yard Metro Station required post-construction shoring up); the importance of the natural, historic, and aesthetic values of the GWMP; etc.  Also, the site was not "always intended for significant development" — quite the opposite. 

The North Pond that abuts the 12-acre site and metro station is maxed out and cannot accommodate additional runoff — and certainly not the enormous volumes expected from 12 acres of impervious surface.  Where will the runoff go? It would be unconscionable to further degrade the GWMP and ancient freshwater tidal wetlands by using them as stormwater management facilities. Also, the sheer weight of the arena complex makes soil stability a huge issue, as we saw with the metro station itself but on a much smaller scale, i.e., the water table is typically only 27 feet below the surface. In addition to unstable soils, there are 12 acres of heavy fly ash and pockets of toxic soils that will have to be dealt with - an enormously expensive undertaking. None of the above has even been remotely addressed.

Further, the City has still not disclosed the staggering cost and geotechnical reports for 2022-2023 post-construction stabilization of the sinking metro station and tracks, despite numerous FOIA requests over the past two years.  Before the City, Youngkin administration, Sen. Mark Warner, and others jump from the frying pan into a volcano on this one, they need a reality check.

Rod Simmons

Arlington, Virginia