Thanks, as always, to Karen Mayne to keeping notes on the Taskforce meetings. Below are her notes from September 13, 2012.
The meeting was led by Councilman Andy Protogyrou. Council representatives Whibley and
Winn were also present.
Department of Development Updates – Charles Rigney
Suburban Park Shopping Center – The lease with Harris Teeter has been signed. Letters of intent are in place for all spaces in the new shopping center except one space at the south end. The out-parcel building will be filled by Towne Bank. On Granby Street at Louisiana there will be a new left turn lane and stop light heading southbound. On Louisiana there will be two turn lanes. There may be an additional light needed on the east side of Little Creek Road and the City has an agreement with Mrs. Dallis to take a parking space in the Mid-town Shopping Center if needed for this traffic light. The City is paying for these traffic improvements.
Mid-Town Center Shopping Center – Mrs. Dallis did not reach an agreement with Dollar Tree so there will be no store in the renovated shopping center. The owner of the gas station is looking for offers to sell but it is unclear what might go there. Mrs. Dallis is not interested in purchasing the property. The 7-11 company expressed interest in the site, but the City does not think the public would want a 7-11 store in that location.
Other Development News: The 7-11 Corporation is looking to move and upgrade a number of corporate owned stores in the region, including the store on the southwest side of Wards Corner. The City is trying to help find an appropriate new location for the store. Discussions continue with potential developers of the Work Force Center property. The liquor license application by the Pancake House was approved by City Council on Tuesday. The former physical therapy building is still under consideration for an urgent care facility. The application by the national chain, Cookout Restaurant, to take over the Speedy Gonzales restaurant on Tidewater Drive was withdrawn by the company after two residents in the area expressed opposition. The Denby Park Civic League supports the project and the City indicated the Cookout company will come back in for approval after further discussions with residents. The Guads restaurant should be open in early October. The need for repaving of the parking lot was discussed.
Department of Public Works Updates – John Keifer/Ann Kelly
Utilities Undergrounding at Wards Corner – Three options for placing the utilities underground on the east side at the Suburban Park Shopping Center were presented. Option 1 would put the utilities underground along the southeast side of Granby Street and Little Creek Road for $160,000. Option 2 would also include the entire perimeter of the shopping center (adding in Louisiana and Virginian frontages) for $3,600,000. Option 3 would also include the northeast side of Little Creek (Mid-Town Shopping Center) from Granby to Virginian for $2,900,000. It was pointed out that the cost estimates for Options 2 and 3 appeared to be reversed. Task Force members agreed that putting the utilities underground along Louisiana and Virginian was not a priority, nor was the north side at the present time. Option 1 will be requested as a Capital
Improvement Project in the City’s 2013 budget since the cost is reasonable and it makes sense to do the project while the entire corner is under construction. Public Works was requested to go back and determine the cost of doing the north-east corner along Granby Street and Little Creek
Road for future consideration.
Wards Corner Redevelopment Plan – There is still $2 million budgeted by the City for the redevelopment of the area. The group agreed that the redevelopment of blighted areas of the greater Wards Corner area is a priority over placing the utilities underground.
Crime statistics for the greater Wards Corner area remain low. Civic league representatives pointed out that it appears prostitutes may be working the Little Creek corridor from Wards Corner to Galveston. There may also be an issue with the small unpaved section of Galveston at Virginian Drive. The vice squad will be notified. The police are also looking into the issue of students leaving Granby High at lunchtime.
Karen Mayne reported that there is a need for a larger and reconfigured bus port at Suburban Park Elementary since school buses back up on Thole Street, and there is a problem with soil erosion at the front of the school. Council representatives asked the Public Works department to work on an engineering plan for the bus port that could be submitted as a Capital Improvement Project in the next year’s budget.
Jim McDonnell reported that Talbot Hall (owned by the Episcopal Church) has been listed for sale with Harvey Lindsay real estate company. The property is zoned institutional.
Community Services Board president Kenny Bryant reported that the transition of the CSB to City management is going well.
Norfolk Collegiate reported that the construction of its new arts center is on schedule for a March 2013 opening.
The group discussed the need for school crossing flashing lights at the Norfolk Christian Lower School on Granby Street and the Norfolk Collegiate Lower School on Tidewater Drive. This will be discussed further at the next task force meeting.