Register to Vote!

September 24, 2015

October 13th is the last day to register to vote in the November 3, 2015 state elections.  If you are new to Virginia, have moved within the State or City, or have never voted before, you can register on-line at  At the website, you can also find your polling place and see a sample ballot.  You can also register through the Norfolk General Registrar in City Hall.  Call the Registrar’s office for further information on how to register at 757-664-4353.  Voter registration forms are usually available at libraries and Department of Motor Vehicle offices.

Polls will be open November 3, 2015, 6:00 am until 7:00 pm.  Voters who are disable, age 65 or older, or pregnant may vote in their car if brought by an assistant.  Voters must present a valid picture identification card.  Acceptable forms are a valid Virginia driver’s license, a Department of Motor Vehicles-issued photo ID card, a U.S. passport, other government-issued photo ID card, and college or university student photo ID card issued by an institution of higher education located in Virginia.

-Karen Mayne

Task Force meeting minutes from September 10, 2015

September 17, 2015

Thanks to Karen Mayne for the following notes:

The Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting

September 10, 2015

Council Members Barclay Winn and Terry Whibley were present.


Department of Development

Kotarides Development expects to close in mid-late September on the purchase of the 10+ acre property where Kroger/Workforce Development Center is located.  No plans for future redevelopment have been announced.  Both Kroger and the City have leases that Kotarides plans to honor.

Sam’s Club has a tentative opening date of November 5.

The parcel behind Wendy’s is available for redevelopment.

The City has two new business loan programs of up to $50,000 for small to medium businesses.  The Citywide Partnership Fund will provide loans to new and expanding businesses to stimulate economic development and private investment that will create permanent employment opportunities for low to moderate income residents.  The Global Initiatives Fund is a first of its kind program to support local exporters.  For more information, contact Leslie Osborn, Chief Credit Officer, at 757-664-4333

Denby Park – James Rogers, Director of Neighborhood Development, reported that the latest group of apartments has been torn down and the City will maintain the area in grass.  Mr. Rogers said that the City will host a charrette with citizen groups to discuss the future of the area.  A tentative date was set on October 19, 5:00 – 7:30 pm, location to be determined.  It was suggested that the City invite all civic league presidents and include a link to the 2004 development study of the Wards Corner area commissioned by the City.

Community Reports

Parking on the grass along West Little Creek Road is still occurring and expanding.  The proposed ordinance change that was discussed by the task force in May was approved by the Planning Commission but has not been placed on the City Council agenda.

The medians along Granby Street where Virginia Natural Gas conducted gas line replacement have still not been repaired – the irrigation system and plantings have not been replaced.  Public Works will look into this.

A concern was raised that the medians along Thole Street and throughout the City have not been maintained due to lack of staffing in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Open Space.  Council reps said the City is considering contracting out the landscaping maintenance of public spaces.  Councilwoman Whibley requested that Darrell Crittendon, director of that department, be asked to speak to the task force at the next meeting.

School Board rep Brad Robinson said that a new superintendent of schools will be selected by November 1.

Alyce Kalfus, Wards Corner Business Association, announced that there will be a large family-friendly event at Ward’s Corner called “Ward’s Corner Salutes Our Military” on Saturday, September 19, 10AM – 7PM.  Food, entertainment, prizes and giveaways, military discounts, and more will be part of the fun.

Next meeting will be November 12, 2015, 8:30 am at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center.

Collins townhouse architecture reviewed by ARB

September 4, 2015

Art Collins and his development company are almost complete with the demolition of the old Riverside Terrace apartments on Newport Ave.  He is replacing the old apartments with a mixture of apartments, townhouses, and condos.

The Watermark Apartments are currently under construction on Newport Ave and the designs were approved some months ago with significant civic league involvement.

Already approved Watermark Apartment elevations

Already approved Watermark Apartment elevations

Collins is now moving forward with the design and construction of the first three townhouse buildings.  As a requirement of the zoning, the design and architecture of these buildings must be reviewed by the Architectural Review Board and the Norfolk Planning Commission.

On September 3, 2015 the Norfolk Architectural Review Board reviewed the plans and architecture of the first three townhouse buildings to be built at Westport Commons.  They recommended approval of the designs with a condition that the windows be double hung rather than single hung.  The Planning Commission will review the designs on September 8, 2015.

Townhouse buildings 1, 2, and 3 towards the upper right are currently being designed and almost ready for construction

Townhouse buildings 1, 2, and 3 towards the upper right are currently being designed and almost ready for construction

westport front

Front elevation of the proposed townhouses. The exterior materials are mostly brick and fiber cement. No vinyl siding is proposed or allowed.

Rear elevation of the proposed Westport Commons Townhouses.

Rear elevation of the proposed Westport Commons Townhouses.

First floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

First floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

Second floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

Second floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

Third floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

Third floor plan of the proposed Westport Commons Townhomes.

Kroger shopping center to be sold to Kotarides Developers

September 2, 2015
Park Place at City Center at Oyster Point is a mixed used development by Kotarides Developers.  Something similar could come to Wards Corner.

Park Place at City Center at Oyster Point is a mixed used development by Kotarides Developers. Something similar could come to Wards Corner.

Kotarides Developers is set to close on the purchase of the Kroger anchored shopping center at Wards Corner.  The purchase includes approximately 10 acres of land where the Kroger grocery store and the City of Norfolk’s Workforce Development Center are currently located.

The purchase does not include any of the out-parcels.

The current shopping center was developed in 1971 and has 105,471 of total building area.

Kotarides indicates that they have no firm plans for the property at this time.  Both Kroger and the City of Norfolk have multi-year leases.  Their options include continuing the current use by Kroger and the City, re-using the current retail buildings, constructing brand new retail buildings, or a mixed use concept with both retail and residential.

Kotarides did state that they have no plans to put in low income housing.  None of their current projects include low income housing and they have no desire to begin doing low income housing projects.

According to tax records the property is currently owned by Meritage-Little Creek, Llc.  The closing on the sale of the property is scheduled for the middle of September.

Your Pie-Wards Corner – Now Open

August 22, 2015

“Wards Corner Salutes Our Military”

August 14, 2015

The following is a message from the Wards Corner Business Association:

Now is the time to see our progress as,


 Join us to be a part of this awesome event!

Look for the sign announcing this event this on Monday.

                In order to be involved in this exciting event, Members and non-members are encouraged to attend this meeting Tuesday, August 18, @ 8:30 a.m.  Doors open @ 8:00 a.m. and the meeting will adjourn promptly at 9:30 a.m. It will take place at Farm Fresh, 230 E. Little Creek Road, Norfolk in the Marine Room on the second floor.

R.S.V.P. WOULD BE APPRECIATED at or leave message at 587-7975

          Like us on Facebook at:, and, please share us with your friends. We are featuring Wards Corner past and present so come back often for updates.

          Thank you for your time and energy. Our long term growth depends on your continued efforts, participation and commitment. Your support will make the Wards Corner Area Business Association stronger and more attractive as a destination $hopping Center.

Mark your calendar for August 18th and engage with your business partners!         

Elyse Kalfus, President

Greater Wards Corner Area Business Association

Dr. Brad Robinson’s School Board update

August 9, 2015

Thanks to Dr. Brad Robinson for providing the following school board update:


Preliminary State Results Indicate Significant Student Achievement Gains for Norfolk Public Schools

Booker T. Washington High School is Projected to Earn Full State Accreditation Status

Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) administrators project that more schools will earn full state accreditation this year, and that Booker T. Washington High School will earn full accreditation status with double-digit gains in the percentages of students who met or exceeded state benchmarks in math, social studies, and science.

The projection, to be shared with the City of Norfolk School Board during a live-streamed work session on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, is based upon preliminary results of the annual Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. The Virginia Department of Education is scheduled to release official SOL pass rates on August 11, 2015, and to release official accreditation ratings in September 2015. (Click here to see the full presentation.)

Preliminary results indicate that division-wide, Norfolk’s students significantly improved their academic performance. NPS experienced double-digit growth in every core content area, compared to the prior school year.

Nearly 82% of NPS schools demonstrated an increase in the percentage of students meeting and exceeding state benchmarks in English and social studies, according to the preliminary results; nearly 89% of schools increased the percentage of students meeting and exceeding state standards in math; and 68% of schools increased student performance in science.

According to preliminary results, math and social studies were areas of strength division-wide, with 77% of schools meeting the state benchmark in math, and 86% of schools meeting the benchmark in social studies.

“We are proud of our students, teachers, principals, and support team for the growth and improvements demonstrated,” said Michael E Thornton, Ph.D., acting superintendent. “We will continue to strengthen our effort and resolve toward achieving full accreditation for all schools, while focusing on the individual needs and aspirations of our students.”

At the high school level, all schools met or exceeded state benchmarks for English, and four schools exceeded state benchmarks in math, history and science. At the middle school level, students performed better in English, math and social studies compared with the prior year. Preliminary results indicate that five middle schools realized double-digit gains in social studies.

The division projects that a total of four additional schools will earn full accreditation this year: Booker T. Washington High School, Camp Allen Elementary School, Larrymore Elementary School, and Willard Elementary School. Four of five high schools are expected to be fully accredited.

While emphasizing the division’s growth, Dr. Thornton and Chief Academic Officer Kipp D. Rogers, Ph.D., said the preliminary results also clearly indicate the areas of continued challenge for Norfolk Public Schools. The division must focus on ensuring that all schools earn full accreditation, and also that achievement gaps between subgroups of students are closed.


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