These candidate responses are being provided in three parts. All three questions can be found in the article, Brewer, Protogyrou, and Saunders Questionnaire. We thank the candidates for their willingness to run for office and for the time they took to answer our questions.
Question #3: Detail those items in the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan that you believe are incorrect or need to be changed and explain why you believe so.
Chuck Brewer’s Response: I called Mr. Brewer and he stated that he would not participate in this Candidate Questionnaire.
Andy Protogyrou’s Response: In examining the Wards Corner comprehensive plan, the greatest problem is its age. At this point the plan is six (6) years old and the actions that have resulted from it have been minimal. I have been a proponent for bike paths from Ocean View down Granby Street. There is a consideration for a bike path along the railroad right-of-way as the railroad tracks go toward Diven Street along Terminal Boulevard and on to NIT. The issue of bike path and bike safety through the Wards Corner corridor must be addressed in a more comprehensive and safe manner. This would include being able to bike from Hampton Boulevard to Wards Corner, and through the Titustown retail district.
The development of a hotel in the Texas streets area may prove difficult because of the interstate splitting that area of Wards Corner in two parts and keeping hotel guests away from the greater retail area. We may need to examine the additional use of hotel space with rooms on the west side of Interstate 64 to allow hotel guests to walk from their room into the retail sections of Wards Corner closer to the intersections of Granby and Little Creek Road.
The plan itself with the areas of Little Creek Road and Granby Street coming together should have more mid-box retail potential than what is being shown in the actual plan itself.
Lastly, a light rail station that links a “transportation hub” (the HRT transfer area) to downtown with light rail traveling along one of Granby Street’s lanes each way would link downtown’s commercial district with that of Wards Corner and then a true and unparalleled transportation link to most of the city’s population. It would allow for growth along the corridor which includes Ocean View, the new DePaul Hospital, Riverview, the Zoo, and 21st Street.
Andy’s website is www.andy-norfolk.com
Barbara Saunders’ Response:
- The approach of tear down and rebuild rather than reinvent and repurpose what already exists. Even in the best of times, there wasn’t enough money to successfully execute the plan. That is why nothing has happened in the six years since the plan was published.
- The presumption that Wards Corner can become a mid-box retail destination with merchants such as Best Buy or Old Navy, particularly in the emerging economy we now face.
- The denial that much of Wards Corner is populated by young families and not meeting their market demands. Almost 55% of Wards Corner’s residents are between the ages of 18 and 49 and 60% of the annual household income for the area is less than $35,000.
- The national trend of an aging population is not a factor in Wards Corner. Only 25% of the population is currently 45+, a demographic that includes the youngest baby boomer. And given the competition for empty nesters in other redevelopment areas of the city, such as downtown and East Beach, it is unrealistic to think Wards Corner can be a destination for aging Yuppies.
- The plan does not address, nor does it change the fact that Wards Corner is a place where young families begin. We should embrace their energy and new ideas, not stifle their growth and development, and at the very least, we should stop wishing them away.
- The importance of the stabilizing neighborhoods, many of which are in Ward 1. These communities are home to older, higher income residents who would contribute to the revitalization of Wards Corner as a shopping destination. Many of these residents may be transitioning to retirement and downsized residences. Ensuring that Greater Wards Corner is a vibrant area that accommodates age diversity will allow the stable neighborhoods to enjoy a natural transition in ownership and the market will provide new housing opportunities for older residents who want to stay in the area.
Barbara’s website is www.barbara4ward1.com