Again highlighting the City’s failure to adequately address the criminal cancer in Denby Park, the Virginian-Pilot printed an editorial in today’s paper stating, in part:
As it has been for years, though, the solution to Denby Park’s problems is not a playground. Or removing a playground. The solution is in a relentless attention to the problems of Wards Corner: a concentration of poverty, crime.
And that will take much more effort than moving a playground from one lot to another.
The following are the full comments sent to Pilot writer Harry Minium by Martin Thomas, Jr.
The Wards Corner area neighborhoods have been begging the City for years to do something about the criminal element in Denby Park. The 2003 Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan called for the demolition of the
substandard housing in the 300 blocks of San Antonio Blvd, Fort Worth Ave, and E. Little Creek Road. Not a single one of the approximately 47 buildings in those blocks has been demolished at this point.
We should not expect the citizens of Norfolk to have to raise their families in a neighborhood, which in those three blocks, is infected with a criminal cancer.
The park, almost immediately after construction, became a hangout for criminals. I support the Denby Park/Monticello Village civic league in their request to move the park to a safer area where the families in those neighborhoods can enjoy the use the park without concern for their safety.
Pertinent quote from page 28 of the Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan :
[T]he high-density walkup apartments constructed in the Texas Streets section of Denby Park are, for the most part, not desirable housing. They have been built too close together, without appropriate provision of open space, and without amenities. The maze-like character of the resulting development, its proximity to highly-travelled Little Creek Road and to Interstate – 64 make it unfortunately suitable for drug dealing and for serving as a base for other criminal activity. The Norfolk police report that the situation in these buildings is getting worse. They recommend major change: the acquisition and demolition of these buildings, before the situation has even more adverse impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods. The many respectable people who are living in these buildings are being victimized by the current situation.