Taskforce Minutes – June 12, 2008

Below are the minutes from the June Taskforce meeting.  They are kept by Carlton “Ray” Ransom, Senior Neighborhood Development Specialist.  They can be downloaded in PDF format: Taskforce Minutes – June 2008.

Thursday, June 12, 2008, 8:30 a.m.
Norfolk Wellness and Fitness Center

Minutes
_______________________________________________________

1.    Present

Harriette Frost        Joan Griffey            Eric Harold    
Lester Cavagwaro        Bob Layton            Ardith Pugh    
Jim English    X    Louis Eisenburg            Bev Sexton    
Dreama Waterfield        Clarence Holmes            Nathaniel Riggins    
Barbara Laws        Marcus Jones            Barclay Winn    
Terry Whibley         Frank Duke             Ray Ransom    

2.    Police Department Report

Lt. Christopher D. Moore represented the Gold Sector Commander of the Norfolk Police Department.  A handout was provided detailing May Crime stats for Monticello Village, Oakdale Farms and Denby Park (See Attachment).  The police report indicated that violent crime stats were flat while property crimes were trending down.  Per Lt. Moore, the NPD had excellent citizen support in the arrest of 4 robbery suspects and the identification of homicide suspects.

3.    Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan Funding

•    ACM Marcus Jones provided a handout that highlighted the Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan funding history from FY05-FY09.  ACM Jones indicated there are sufficient funds for acquisition of the Alexis Apartments as well as the Special Service Area in the FY 2009 Budget.
•    For FY 2009, $2.1 million has been budgeted to support implementation of the Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan.
•    Of that amount $1,000,000 can be allocated in support of an MOU between the city and NRHA for activities to be implemented in the Special Service Area. The remaining $421,328 will be allocated for other needs in the neighborhood plan.

•    City Council member Barclay Winn requested that the city place a hold on the Alexis Apartments until we determine the best use for the property.  It was suggested that the property could be sold and the proceeds reinvested into the plan.
•    Estimates were requested for the cost for converting Alexis Apartment building site(s) into parking lots.
•    The Greater Wards Corner Task Force requested the cooperation of the Titustown Civic League in support of the Alexis Apartment (parking) plans.  Former Titustown Civic League President, Nathaniel Riggins requested additional time to get more familiar with the project.

4.      Update on Alexis Apartments

Frank Duke, Director of Planning and Community Development, provided an update on the Alexis Apartments. A recommendation to demolish the existing structures and create public parking (which is consistent with the Greater Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan) was presented.

•    The City is seeking feedback from the business owners in Titustown regarding the use of the Alexis Apartment site for public parking.
•     A conceptual parking plan will be provided at the July Greater Wards Corner Task Force meeting.
•    Alexis Apartments should be vacant by July 2008.  Tenants have received 90 day notice(s).

5.    Special Service Area

The Special Service Area in Wards Corner will be the focus for the implementation of four (4) proposed strategic neighborhood revitalization programs as follows:

•    The Equity Secure Program – the program will provide rehabilitation assistance to moderate income families up to $35,000 for general improvements and an additional $20,000 for eligible lead paint abatement activities.
•    Home Appeal – A Residential Façade & Aesthetic Improvement Grant will provide matching funds to homeowners and investors to off-set the cost of eligible exterior improvements.  Program is not income restricted. The maximum matching grant is up to $15,000 for 1-4 unit residential structures and up to $25,000 for structures with 5 or more units.
•    Home Style – The program provides for matching Interest free loans up to $25,000 to accommodate home expansions.  Applicant must use the Neighborhood Design and Resource Center.
•    Street Stabilization Program (Building Blocks)- The program will provide Infrastructure (streetscape) improvements to support the visual appeal of blocks where at least 75% of the property owners participate.

Program implementation is scheduled to begin after July 1, 2008. The city will execute an MOU with NRHA to administer the rehabilitation programs.

6.    Presented or proposed discussion for the next meeting on July 10, 2008.

•    An update on economic development activities in the Greater Wards Corner area
•    Feedback on the Titustown parking proposal (Alexis Apartments) from the Titustown merchants.
•    Update on the Bon-Secours Hospital Facility

Next Meeting:  July 10, 2008

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