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Initial Impressions and Things Said Aloud While Reading a Draft of the New Alexandria Master Plan: - The word "greater" is misspelled on the very first page. A simple spell check was not performed on the ENTIRE document. - It seems like there isn't a coherent organization to the plan. There are main themes, like historic preservation, but there is no way to understand what the main priorities are. - Promoting the African-American community for tourism. Uhhhhhhh...... huh? I mean, I know we have that Arna Bontemps museum, the Harlem Renaissance writer who lived here until the age of THREE. Yes, that is right. Here's his Wikipedia entry: Arna Wendell Bontemps (October 13, 1902 - June 4, 1973) was an American poet and a noted member of the Harlem Renaissance. He was born in the recently restored house at 1327 Third Street, Alexandria, Louisiana, now the Bontemps African America Museum & Cultural Arts Center. When he was three, his family moved to the Watts district of Los Angeles, California. He began writing while a student at Pacific Union College and became the author of many children's books. His critically most important work, The Story of the Negro (1948), received the Jane Addams Book Award and was also a Newbery Honor Book. He is probably best known for the 1931 novel God Sends Sunday. He also wrote the 1946 play St. Louis Woman. Now, let's be honest with one another: Mr. Bontemps is not Jean Toomer or Langston Hughes or Zora Neale Hurston. He was a peripheral figure in the movement. My point is this: It was a good idea to restore the man's home on Third Street, much like they've done to the Degas home in New Orleans. But we're fooling ourselves if we think Bontemps considered himself a Louisianan and that a museum dedicated to him will ever be a real tourist destination. I took a class in Harlem Renaissance poetry and fiction at Rice, and while this may not make me an expert in the leaders of the Renaissance, I'm confident enough to say that Mr. Bontemps would be very surprised that he is so famous in Alexandria. ... more on the master plan - Historic preservation in coordination with affordable housing? You can't do both in the same neighborhoods at the same time. I wish they'd explain themselves more. - Lee Street as the arts district? When? In the year 2055? I mean, it's an interesting vision... but... uh... it's bizarre and counter-intuitive. Look, I know we need to spend more money on South Alexandria. We do. And to all those white racists types who think the city shouldn't have big dreams for the entire community, you guys just don't get it. But there has to be a balance... and although I think that it'd be awesome if we were able to rehab Bolton Avenue and Lee Street, we have to be equally aware of where the city is growing. They say they're spending more money out there on 28W than any area of town, but the master plan hardly makes a mention of 28W. And it's the MASTER PLAN! I'll write more later on this.