As always, thanks to Karen Mayne for the following notes from the Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting which was held on November 8, 2012 at the Fitness and Wellness Center.
The meeting was led by Councilwoman Terry Whibley. Councilman Barclay Winn was also present.
DePaul Bon Secours Presentation – Tom Privett
Mr. Privett gave a presentation on the renovations that Bon Secours has undertaken in the past two years and its future plans for its DePaul medical campus. They have invested $14 million inside the hospital on new state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities. They have implemented a fully electronic medical records program called ConnectCare. In late November they will break ground on a new medical building, which will be located at the eastern end of the current large parking lot. This building will house the outpatient and oncology departments. Future plans call for an entirely new campus, with the new hospital to be located at the western end of the current parking lot. Eventually, two parking garages will be built. In the interim, parking will continue to be at the western end of the current lot and in a lot where the former
medical building was torn down. Bon Secours will be applying to the City for a Sign Overlay District to allow them to have directional signage as well as a large sign showing the future layout of the campus and large signs on the sides of their current buildings.
Department of Public Works – Alice Kelly
Underground Utilities at Wards Corner – Dominion Power has provided a cost estimate of $150,000 for replacing the two wooden anchor poles on the south side of Little Creek Road with larger concrete poles on the north side. A similar design anchor pole may be seen on Norview Avenue at Five Points. The total cost to complete the southeastern quadrant of the Corner is now estimated to be $310,000. The group requested to see a picture of what the large concrete anchor poles would look like before making a decision to make this project a Department of Public Works’ budget request for fiscal year 2014.
School Crossing Lights – Discussion continued on the issue of crossing lights at Norfolk Christian lower school on Granby Street and upper school on Thole Street. Ms. Kelly said that the City would expect private schools to pay for crossing lights as there are five public schools in the City for which there are insufficient funds for crossing lights. The police department will be engaged to look at better traffic management on Granby Street during bus hours. The group discussed the possibility of moving the existing crossing lights on Thole Street at Suburban Park Elementary and on Granby Street at Granby High School to locations that would encompass the two Norfolk Christian schools.
Suburban Park Elementary Bus Port – Karen Mayne relayed to the group that the Principal of Suburban Park Elementary, Mrs. Brenda Shepherd, had indicated she had not been contacted by the staff of Public Works and Parks who had worked with the school administration office on the concept design for a new bus port. Ms. Kelly said she would look into that and have someone get in touch with Mrs. Shepherd.
Department of Development – Mike Cutter
The demolition of the Suburban Park Shopping Center should be completed in the next few months. A citizen request was made to look into the issue of homeless sleeping in the buildings now that all the windows and doors have been removed. Mid Town Shopping Center renovations are almost complete and the parking lot will be upgraded, landscaped and will have new signage. Mrs. Dalis has a number of letters of intent to lease the renovated shopping center. Currently, there are no plans to lease the second story of the central part of the shopping center, but that could happen in the future. Farm Fresh is continuing the process of getting City approval for a drive-through pharmacy.
Police Report – Officer Odell Davis
Crime statistics in the area show a decline over last year. On November 12, the 3rd Patrol will implement 12 hour shifts with two officers per car on a trial basis. This has been implemented in other communities and has worked well elsewhere. The 3rd Patrol will have 10 cars on the street at a time. It will also have five community resource officers and Officer Davis will be taking the new resource officers to civic league meetings to introduce them.
The Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia has an I-Ride program that provides special van transportation for senior citizens and persons with disabilities in the Wards Corner area. The cost is $1.00 each way and the program has scheduled stops at the wellness center and businesses in the area as well as special request stops within two miles of the scheduled route.
The poor quality of the parking lot at the Sai Gai building was again brought up. It was suggested that the owners of the building could be encouraged to apply for an aesthetic grant from the City to improve the lot.
The cell tower at the Masonic Temple that has been disguised as a flag pole now has an American flag that is much smaller than the original flag, which looks out of proportion to the size of the tower. Ntelos is the cell tower owner and the City will look into whether there was any requirement in the City’s permit for the cell tower for a certain size flag.
At the last meeting there was a suggestion for additional benches in the design of the new playground to be built at the Fitness and Wellness Center. Since the current design meets requirements and there is no money for additional benches, it was suggested that the civic league could apply for a neighborhood grant to move excess benches from another playground to the new location.
Aren’t the 12 hour shift changes for police patrols in the west Ghent area? Have they considered the need in the Wards Corner-Southern Shopping Center areas?
a) Playground at NFWC: as a mother of a playground kid I would say it is essential to have benches near a playground!
b)School Crossing Lights / Norfolk Christian:
I never see anybody crossing either Thole nor Granby on foot, a new light would be just for comfort of the driving parents and there never seems to be to much of a car queue
and I would think public works should look into the “flashing lights” timeframe, how long before and after school beginning and end should they flash? somtimes it is an hour earlier than dismissal (and even on days where the schools are closed)
and regarding school busses: do they have to follow traffic rules? As they sometimes just pull out of the Suburban parking lot without stopping for comming traffic?
c) bus port at Suburban Park Elementry: a better solution is definately necessary and a rule for “how to drive on the visitors parking lot “without blocking other cars and especially without stopping for kids using the sidewalk – parents sometimes look at us walking and hardly ever stop as if we did not have th eright of way! – especially on rainy days!
I would suggest a handout on “how to park “(like not on the blue striped area or in front of the school sidewalk ) and a short reminder on VA driving regluations! And on the parking lot I would appreciate no cell phone use while driving – nearly every school day I think parents are so tactless when it comes to politeness and caring for other parents kids!