November Civic Connection Updates

November 30, 2007

Updates related to the Wards Corner Partnership area, taken from November’s Civic Connection:

• PROJECT FOCUS. The Civic Connection says “A Youth Academy for residents of the Denby Park neighborhood began on November 19, 2007, the Crossroads Recreation Center, and will run for four weeks.” This is untrue. The Denby Park Youth Academy has been postponed indefinitely for lack of interest in the program.

• TRUCK RESTRICTIONS. The Norfolk Police Department began enforcement of a new city ordinance passed by the Norfolk City Council in October 2007 limiting truck traffic on Hampton Blvd., Granby St., and Church St. Enforcement of this ordinance prohibiting trucks of 4 axles or more from 4:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. Violation of this ordinance may result in a fine of $250.00. Members of the Norfolk Police Department have received training in preparation of enforcement of the new code from the staff of the City Attorney’s Office. Officers will be assigned to enforcement of this new ordinance in the initial week and there after as deemed necessary. Motorists can expect officers to strictly enforce any violation of this ordinance.

• CITY COUNCIL. Approved a resolution supporting passage by the General Assembly of legislation to prevent exploitative payday lending practices in Virginia.

• TRAFFIC SIGNAL BATTERY BACK-UPS. The Division of Transportation have installed and tested battery back-up systems at two intersections in Norfolk — Virginia Beach Boulevard and Military Highway, and Brambleton Avenue and St. Paul’s Boulevard – and plans to install the back-up system at other key locations. The new system will keep traffic signals operational during power failures and during periods of power fluctuation. Ideally, the traffic signal will continue its regular cycle, although it may – for a variety of reasons, enter a flashing red/ flashing yellow cycle. The back-up system ensures the safe operation of signals for a minimum of 4 hours. The next location planned to be equipped with battery back-ups is:
Hampton Boulevard and Terminal Boulevard

• SCHOOL FLASHING BEACONS. In an effort to ensure safe crossing at school zones, DOT has upgraded school flashing lights at Granby High School. The new flashing lights horizontal instead of vertical in order to increase the surface area visible to drivers, Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are now being used because they are brighter when they flash, and the background of the school flashing beacons are now florescent yellow-green which makes it apparent to drivers that they are crossing a school zone.

• ARTS COMMISSION. The Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities is pleased to announce the December performances in its free, open to the public, Arts Within Reach series. Dec. 4 (Tues.) 7 pm Arts Within Reach. Virginia Symphony Holiday Brass Quintet. Members of the symphony’s brass section—Stephen Carlson, trumpet; David Vonderheide, trumpet; Wilford Holcombe, horn; Timothy Owner, trombone; Peter DuBeau, tuba; John Lindberg, percussion—ring in the holidays with a unique, seasonal concert. Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center, 7300 Newport Avenue. 664-4321


Norfolk asks State for tools to limit vacant houses

November 28, 2007

The Virginian-Pilot reports that Portsmouth is joining Norfolk in Norfolk’s efforts to lobby the General Assembly to give Virginia’s cities more tools to limit vacant houses. Currently Norfolk is limited to a $25/year fee for houses to be placed on a vacant housing registry. Commonsense tells you that a $25 fee will not even cover the cost of running the registry, much less deter home owners from leaving empty, blighted, and vacant houses in our neighborhoods. The article reports that:

Boarded-up and vacant houses have been found to decrease the value of neighboring homes by as much as $7,500.

Under Norfolk’s proposal, owners of boarded-up houses would be charged $2,500 annually.

They would be required to submit rehabilitation plans quickly. Owners who fail to do so or finish renovations would face additional fines of $250 each quarter.

The Portsmouth Neighborhood Quality Taskforce, which has been studying this issue of vacant houses in Portsmouth, also recommended that Portsmouth adopt “one system [that] could track tax delinquencies, police and fire calls, and other indications that a property has become troubled”. The Wards Corner Partnership has been advocating such a system in Norfolk for years.

Read the Virginian-Pilot article: Portsmouth joins Norfolk in efforts to eliminate blighted lots

Norfolk police say man shot in the 300 Block of East Little Creek Road.

November 22, 2007

Here we go again folks. The Pilot Online reports:


A man was shot about 9:30 p.m. in the 300 block of East Little Creek Rd., police said.

The victim talked with officers when they arrived and was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, said Officer Chris Amos, a police spokesman. Amos said he did not know how serious the wound was.

The Greater Wards Corner Partnership knows the solution to this problem. It is clearly taken care of in the Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan. “Mr. Mayor tear this block down.”

Newport Ave traffic calming

November 15, 2007

Newport Ave Traffic Proposal SmallNorfolk city transportation engineer, Guzin Akan, has been working with the Talbot Park Civic League on measures to either slow or divert traffic on Newport Ave. The current proposed plan is not finalized, but Ms. Akan was nice enough to send along a copy of the proposed traffic calming measures that she presented to the Wards Corner Task Force on November 8, 2007.

The plan includes adding wider than normal parking spaces, medians, and small traffic circles along Newport Ave between North Shore Road and Kingsley Lane.

The Newport Ave Traffic Proposal (PDF).

Reminder: Greater Wards Corner Partnership Meeting

November 15, 2007

Where: The Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center, 7300 Newport Avenue

Date: Saturday, November 17, 2007

Time: 8:30 AM


1. Pace Report

2. Committee Reports
A. Economic Development
B. Beautification
C. Infrastructure
D. Codes
E. Business Association

3. Mayor’s Greater Wards Corner Task Force Report

4. Unfinished Business

5. New Business

6. Adjourn

Next Meeting: Saturday, December 15, 2007

Please bring a breakfast food item, paper product or beverage to share.

Our condolences to Ardith Pugh of the Meadowbrook Civic League on the loss of Jordan, her beloved husband.

City of Norfolk reverses, now supports smaller DePaul

November 15, 2007

A decision is still pending from the state health commissioner, but Bon Secours DePaul hospital cleared a hurdle last night when the City of Norfolk changed their position on a smaller DePaul hospital and now support Bon Secours’ efforts.

Earlier this year, Bon Secours, a nonprofit Catholic health system, proposed replacing the 238-bed DePaul with a new hospital that would have 54 beds.

After meeting with the City, Mayor Paul Fraim and Richard A. Hanson, CEO of Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System, signed an agreement that the City would support the smaller DePaul if certain conditions were met.

DePaul agreed to increase the number of beds at the new hospital from 54 to 64. The 10 extra beds are to be designated for childbirth services. The agreement also included:

The emergency room will be staffed by board-certified emergency medicine physicians round the clock.

DePaul will have six beds for intensive care and will continue cancer treatment with a linear accelerator plus a CT simulator. The midwifery center would be maintained.

For more information, see the Virginian-Pilot article: Bon Secours, Norfolk reach agreement on smaller DePaul

Great Wards Corner Improvements

November 14, 2007

The October 2007 Civic Connection lists the following improvement updates:

Over the past few months, the City has been working on various road and sidewalk improvements in the Greater Wards Corner community, including implementing Titustown business corridor improvements.

On Granby Street, sidewalk repairs and concrete road repairs have been ongoing. Over 250 sidewalk panels were replaced from Willow Wood Drive to Kingsley Lane to improve pedestrian safety. Currently, a contractor is completing concrete road repairs on Granby Street at Filbert Street, Severn Street, Blake Road and Afton Road to improve driving conditions.

Also on Granby Street, work should be complete in the next two months to upgrade the School Zone-Reduce Speed 25 MPH flashing beacons at Granby High School. The foundations have been installed and once the radio control equipment arrives the signals will be operational shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, the signals are operating as they have in the past.

In Monticello Village, a contractor has completed a $389,000 project to improve the curb and gutters throughout the neighborhood.

As part of the Titustown Business Corridor Improvement Program, sidewalk repairs, ADA ramp installation, straightening of street light poles and improvements to street signage have been completed on Little Creek Road from Tapley Ave to Grantham Road. Resurfacing of the street and new pedestrian crosswalks will be installed this fall.

Terminal Boulevard was also recently repaired. After observing a potential safety hazard, crews from the Division of Streets and Bridges corrected a sunken area of roadway on Terminal Boulevard from Ruthven Road to Diven Street. An asphalt overlay was put in place in the northbound lane. Heavy truck traffic has caused that portion of the road to crack and sink. An engineering study is underway to determine what solutions should be considered as it pertains to replacing or repairing Terminal Boulevard.

Other projects in the process include ADA ramps in the Titustown neighborhood; improvements to the pedestrian crosswalks; upgrades to the existing span wire, and the addition of a signalized intersection to a mast arm configuration at Little Creek Road and Granby Street.

Northshore Park

November 13, 2007

The October 2007 Civic Connection has an update on the now complete Northshore Park upgrades:

Installation of the new playground equipment at Northshore Park was completed in late September. The scope of the playground work included: removal of existing old steel slides; removal of wood framed swing sets; and removal of the wood slat park benches. These items were replaced with metal-framed swing sets and a new multi-component play module which includes slides, platforms, and climbers. Steel benches will be installed this month.

The playground replacement was completed using funding from the designated $350,000 playground replacement fund appropriated by City Council at the end of FY 2007.

The benches mentioned in the above update have been installed and look great.

Project Focus: Youth Academy

November 12, 2007

One of the “tools” being utilized by the City of Norfolk and the Norfolk Police as a part of Project Focus are Youth Academys.

The Norfolk Police Department re-tooled its highly popular Citizen Police Academy for the youth audience to help young citizens know more about law enforcement and how it applies to them.

The first Youth Academy began this week in Olde Huntersville in the Huntersville Recreation Center with an enrollment of approximately 20.  A Youth Academy is planned for Denby Park and is set to begin on November 19 at the Crossroads Recreation Center.  The Academy will run for four weeks and participants are required to be accompanied by an adult.  Please encourage your children and your neighbors to be a park of the Denby Park Academy.
For more information, see the City of Norfolk News Release: Youth Academy Begins in Project Focus Areas 

LTE: “Wards Corner needs Sandlers”

November 2, 2007

The Virginian-Pilot has published a letter to the editor by Tim Smith, the president of the Talbot Park Civic League, entitled “Wards Corner needs Sandlers“. Below is the text of that letter.

In ‘A kayak ride for the Sandlers‘ (letter, Oct. 30), Barbara Gunn has a great idea to help the Sandler brothers continue the legacy their family started many decades ago. Give Indigo Dunes back to the people to enjoy as a nature reserve. There is an even greater legacy for the Sandler brothers. Come back to where the Sandler legacy started Norfolk. Ms. Gunn is correct when she says that ‘a job of a builder is to build’ and build the Sandler brothers could do, in Norfolk. Wards Corner has a comprehensive plan that is backed by 20 civic leagues and the city government.

The only thing we are lacking is a developer who is willing to invest in our future. The city’s resources are spread too thin and many projects that were promised by our elected officials will be delayed or forgotten over time.

Wards Corner has always needed a developer who knows this area and is ready to show the city of Norfolk what the residents here really want. We would like to see a Wards Corner that has great shopping opportunities in a safe environment. We have the money to spend and would like to keep it here in our community.

Sandler brothers, please come back home to Norfolk and help us see the bright future your parents saw when you were growing up.

Tim Smith

Steve and Art Sandler own L.M. Sandler & Sons Inc. L.M. Sandler & Sons Inc. is largely a residential development company, but it also has other assets. It operates under several different names in various states, primarily in the Southeast. For more information about the Sandlers, read the Virginian-Pilot article “Who are Virginia Beach’s Sandler brothers?“.

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