Wards Corner mentioned in Norfolk’s State of the City address

February 20, 2010

Mayor Fraim gave the State if the City Address on Friday, February 19, 2010.  It included the following information regarding the Wards Corner area:

More than $13 million has been invested in the Greater Wards Corner area since approval of the Comprehensive Plan.  Last year, police presence and code enforcement activities were stepped up, surveillance cameras installed in Denby Park, and a neighborhood watch begun with 60 residents participating.  As a result, violent crime in Wards Corner dropped 35% and property crime 6%.

Three residential rehabilitation programs were begun for Denby Park, Oakdale Farms and Monticello Village to assist residents in upgrading their homes.  The programs were so successful that within six months, the first $1 million was committed to 21 homeowners.  Another $1 million was committed this fiscal year to assist 40 homeowners, and there’s already a waiting list for next year.

On the commercial side, the department of development is in active discussions with major property owners in the heart of the Wards Corner business district, and we expect new development opportunities to be identified later this year.

The Mayor had this to say about crime:

We were disappointed and concerned by last year’s increase in the homicide rate.  With that exception, overall violent crime was down 14%.

In a very positive sign, juvenile arrests dropped significantly in selective enforcement areas – 83% in Huntersville; 41% in Denby Park and 14% in the Pleasant Avenue corridor.  Overall juvenile arrests were down 52%.  But the problem is still severe, it affects our children and school safety.  That is why I will ask the city council to establish a task force on youth and gang violence to be chaired by the vice mayor, Anthony Burfoot.

Not surprisingly, the Mayor touted the real estate purchases in Ocean View:

The City and NRHA continue to acquire dilapidated properties in Ocean View for redevelopment.  Recent examples include a 16 unit apartment on First View, a 15 unit apartment in Willoughby and the old Ramada Inn property on Ocean View Avenue.

Successful resolution for use of the property along 5th and 7th Bay Streets now makes it possible to begin thinking about preparing a development plan that includes public open space for this very desirable site.

But the purchase of property in the worst area of the Texas Streets portion of Denby Park continues to move at a snails pace (no properties have been purchased, no offers made).  Remember that the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan’s first listed priority was the redevelopment of those Texas Streets.  From page 30 of the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan:

We have identified three critical areas for the future of the Greater Wards Corner Area:
1. The Texas Streets portion of Denby Park and related areas extending along East Little Creek Road to the Southern Shopping Center,…

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