A letter to Councilman Williams

Yesterday, I received from Laura Thom a copy of the following letter to Ward 1 Councilman Don Williams:

Letter to Don Williams

January 21, 2008

Councilman Donald L. Williams

809 W. Ocean View Ave.

Norfolk, VA  23503

Dear Councilman Williams:

Wards Corner used to be a great area.  “Times Square of the South” it was once called.  No more.  This area, which is the main gateway to the City of Norfolk from points north, is in a state of disrepair and neglect. 

Finally, after years of losing business after business[1] and watching the further deterioration of already substandard housing in several Wards Corner locales[2], on November 21, 2004, Norfolk City Council adopted the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan.  While city council continues to spend thousands of dollars enticing developers to downtown, and is now focusing on St. Paul’s quadrant (and what about  the $11 million fountains slated for Waterside!), not a move has been made to begin fulfillment of the Wards Corner plan.  Council members like to say their hands are tied because of the revisions to eminent domain.  But this is a smoke screen; revisions to eminent domain did not occur until 2007—2 ½ years after Council approved of the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan.

Residents and businesses of Wards Corner spoke loudly and clearly last Tuesday evening.  We are just plain tired of the discriminatory practices demonstrated by our elected officials.  Moreover, we are prepared to take decisive action to institute changes of City leadership unless council members begin to right the wrongs, end the neglect, and focus on implementing the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan –not next year, not next fiscal year, but now.  It’s unfortunate that the eminent domain legislation will make this plan more difficult to accomplish, but Council will simply have to overcome the resultant obstacles.  I respectfully request that you, as our Ward 1 representative, take heed and pay attention to Wards Corner Now.




Laura Thom

[1]  Over the years, Wards Corner has lost the beautiful stone Hofheimer building in favor of a generic Walgreens. Regino’s Italian restaurant, a Wards Corner landmark, closed then re-opened far down E. Little Creek Rd., Mary Barnett’s moved to Riverview, Naas Bakery moved to Tidewater Dr.   The space formerly occupied by People’s Drug has been vacant for years.  Uncle Louie’s is gone, so are: Abel Art Supplies, The Toy Works, Herschler’s Children’s Shoe Store, LaVogue, Rice’s Department Store, The Fabric Hut,  Smith & Welton’s, Lottie’s Shoes… the list goes on.   We even had a bowling alley!     

[2] Note the crime statistics in Denby Park and the Texas Streets. 


One Response to A letter to Councilman Williams

  1. John Knight says:

    Thank you Laura for the courage to speak out and tell it like it is!

    John Knight
    Owner- Book Exchange
    Secretary- Greater Ward’s Corner Business Association

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