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Posted at 12:48 PM ET, 03/ 1/2010

'Potala on the Potomac'

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Converse M. West
Alexandria

The city of Alexandria is on course to regret its advocacy in luring the Army to locate its Washington Headquarters Service in the city under the Base Realignment and Closure process. The 6,400 employees may be welcome, but their thousands of vehicles are another matter. I offer no solution to the traffic problems that are envisioned when the new buildings are occupied next year, but along with other residents, I pray that the Army will manage to accommodate its needs without destroying the botanical preserve that it chose to build next to.

However it turns out, the new building will be (actually, already is) a significant landmark in Alexandria and a notable sight for all who approach the Washington area from the south. Looming on a sheer wall above I-395, it has the visual impact that I imagine travelers to Tibet experiencing when they first view the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace rising atop a cliff above the high Himalayan Desert.

Before it is named for some worthy warrior, I nominate: “Potala on the Potomac.” I can envision a general asking his adjutant: “Where is the meeting this morning? Is it at the Pentagon or the Potala?”

The writer is secretary of the Holmes Run Park Committee, which advocates the preservation of the Winkler Botanical Preserve.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | March 1, 2010; 12:48 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Virginia, transportation  
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