As always, many thanks to Karen Mayne for keeping notes:
Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting – October 11, 2012
The meeting was led by Councilwoman Terry Whibley. Councilman Barclay Winn was also present.
Department of Public Works
Utilities Undergrounding at Wards Corner – The City worked with Virginia Power to get cost estimates for the northeast quadrant of the Corner. The cost to underground the utilities along Little Creek Road from Granby to the railroad tracks would be $1.5 million. The cost to underground along Granby Street from Little Creek to the railroad tracks would be $90,000. The group agreed that adding in the section along northeast corner of Granby Street to the work at the southeast section (which was $160,000) makes sense, so both projects will be considered at this time. Public Works said that the anchor pole on the southeast corner could not be removed since it is needed to support the pole on the northeast corner. They will continue to explore whether there are other options for that pole and will report back at the November meeting.
Sewer Line Projects – Work continues around the greater Wards Corner area and will involve more lane closures over the next few months, including some closures on Little Creek Road west of Wards Corner.
Granby High School — Assistant Principal Thomas Smigiel reported on issues related to truancy at the school. Granby High is not an “open campus” and students cannot leave the school unless they have a pass. Authorized reasons are: the early release program for students who do not have afternoon classes; GED students who are in school until 11:30 am; and cooperative education students who leave the campus at 1:30 pm for jobs. The school administration is working to address the truancy problem and there has been a 75 percent reduction in truancy at Granby since last school year. Citizens are invited to a town hall meeting at Granby High on November 8 from 6:00 – 7:00 pm.
Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Community Collaboration Center — Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Linda Bryant spoke about the new Community Collaboration Center recently opened in the Norfolk Workforce Development Center. This new concept will provide a satellite office to increase victim support, community education to adults and students about the legal system, and criminal code compliance. The area of focus will be a one to two mile radius around the Center, which includes the Wards Corner area.
Department of Development
Suburban Park Shopping Center – Removal of asbestos has slowed down progress on demolition. The Perry Building should be coming down soon and the rest of the structure after that.
Mid-Town Shopping Center – Construction work on the new façade should be completed by the end of October and blue awnings are being added. New tenants should be announced in the future. It is hoped that the parking lot will be improved.
Farm Fresh – Representatives of Farm Fresh presented drawings of their plans for a drive-through pharmacy. It will be located where the current pharmacy is. The company is negotiating with the property owner to repave the parking lot. Civic league representatives brought up the need for additional lighting in the parking lot.
Other News – The Pancake House has received their ABC license. The copy store in the same area recently closed.
Department of Recreation, Parks and Open Space – Shawn Krawetzki presented a drawing of a new playground to be built at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center on Newport Avenue. The playground will be next to the tennis courts. A request was made for additional benches in the design.
Police Report – Lt. Coghlan reported that crime remains low in the area – mostly larcenies and shoplifting from businesses. He reported that the vice squad was notified after last month’s task force discussion of prostitution in the Wards Corner area, but they have not found anyone. He said that if the public sees what they suspect to be prostitution, they should immediately call the police and inform the dispatcher that it is suspected prostitution so that the police will respond quickly.
Community Reports – Jim McDonnell reported that Royster Memorial Presbyterian Church is reopening after the arson fire in May. Over $3 million has been spent to repair the church. Royster will hold a hymn festival to celebrate the restoration of the pipe organ on October 30 at 7:00 pm.
New Business – The discussion of school crossing lights at Norfolk Christian Lower School on Granby Street was delayed until the November meeting.