Alexandria Council Says Unoffensive ‘Waterfront Park' Is Title for Redeveloped Area

Alexandria, Virginia, will name a redeveloped area once informally named for a founding father who owned slaves to "Waterfront Park."

The Alexandria City Council voted unanimously Saturday to combine the site surrounding King Street Park and the already existing Waterfront Park into a single park named Waterfront Park.

Waterfront Park is a large part of the city's revitalization of the Potomac River waterfront.

The Washington Post reports the park, previously called Fitzgerald Square in planning documents, sparked a dispute after some residents noted that founding father Col. John Fitzgerald was one of the town’s largest slave owners.

“His successful businesses were accomplished on the back of enslaved human beings,” council member Timothy B. Lovain (D) said, according to the Post.

The name "Fitzgerald Square" had been in planning documents since at least 2011

The Post said city officials quietly dropped the name in March and announced that the new park must go through an official naming process.


Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information

How to stay cool and safe as a heat wave heads for the DC area

Road closures ahead of Potomac River Tunnel Project

But a group of Irish Catholic Alexandrians were outraged by the name change and launched petitions to have the Fitzgerald name restored.

The councils says construction is underway to join the original King Street Park site with the sites of the former Old Dominion Boat Club building and parking lot, to create an interim park that will open in early 2019.

An open plaza, a waterfront promenade, shade structures and a modular space that can adapt to different purposes throughout the year are the park's planned features, the council says. Several years later, the interim park will close so that flood mitigation infrastructure can be constructed and additional amenities added before the permanent park reopens.

Contact Us