Thanks to Karen Mayne for the following minutes:
The Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting
June 13, 2013
Council Members Barclay Winn, Andy Protogyrou, and Terry Whibley, and Mayor Paul Fraim were present. Mr. Wynter Benda was introduced as the new Assistant City Manager who has been assigned to the Wards Corner area. Mr. Benda can be reached at 757-664-4263.
Talbot Hall Update – Jay Taylor
Talbot Hall is up for sale by the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia for $4.25 million. Harvey Lindsay is the listing agent. The private non-profit organization, Talbot Hall Foundation, is working with the Diocese and Harvey Lindsay to raise funds to purchase the property for permanent protection. The Foundation hopes to raise funds through a public/private partnership using grants and donations. It also envisions establishing an endowment to maintain the property using historic and environmental easements that would be sold for tax credits. The Foundation hopes the City will contribute towards the preservation of these 8 acres of waterfront property on the Lafayette River and plans to make a presentation to City Council regarding its proposal. Task Force members agreed to discuss at the next meeting (September) as to whether the City should dedicate any of the Wards Corner funding towards the acquisition and protection of Talbot Hall.
Department of Public Works
Tidewater Drive Infrastructure Improvement Projects are getting underway along the section between East Little Creek Road and Roland Park. A handout was provided with the various types of improvements and timelines, which are scheduled to continue through the winter of 2015. For more detailed information, go to www.norfolk.gov and type in the keyword: Tidewater Projects.
Virginia Natural Gas continues to replace sections of its underground lines in the City as part of its statewide program to ensure the reliability and safety of its pipelines. VNG works closely with the Department of Utilities on these projects. The Granby Street Project is nearing completion. Three upcoming pipeline replacement projects in the vicinity include the East Little Creek I Project, the West Little Creek II Street Project, and the Louisiana Drive Project. The City provided a handout that explains the VNG program and local projects. This information can be found at the City’s website at www.norfolk.gov using the keyword: VNG.
Utilities – Sewer line replacement projects continue in the area and are close to being finished. Utilities will soon be starting on the replacement of a 20” water main along the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks adjacent to I-564. Norfolk Southern has constructed a new siding along the area. City Council representatives requested more information about this rail siding at the September meeting. Concern was expressed about impacts to the neighborhood to the south of the railroad siding.
Department of Development
Suburban Park Shopping Center Update – The City will be starting on the road changes at Granby Street and Louisiana Drive, which will include a traffic signal and turn lanes. The HRT bus stop will be removed. The road construction, along with gas line replacement work by Virginia Natural Gas, and undergrounding of the power lines by Virginia Power, will be timed to be completed for the opening of the shopping center in 2014. Construction has started on the Harris Teeter portion and will soon start on the rest of the buildings. The issue of the sidewalk right-of-way along Little Creek Road was discussed again. Suburban Asset Management has agreed to talk with the City about moving the sidewalk away from the road for pedestrian safety. SAM’s landscaping plan is currently under review by the City. A question was raised as to whether the former audio-visual crosswalk system between the north and south side of Little Creek road will be replaced. The City said there is not currently funding in the Utilities program for its replacement, but that residents can request it for possible future funding.
Dollar Tree has leased and started renovations on the site of the former China Buffet. Since Wards Corner was the site of Dollar Tree’s first store, the company plans to make this new store their flagship.
The City is still talking with the owners of the Farm Fresh property about the demolition and redevelopment of the old building beside the store. The property is up for sale but is not being marketed. The City hopes that a small shopping strip or restaurant could go in this site, which fronts on Admiral Taussig Boulevard. It was mentioned that lighting of the Farm Fresh parking lot needs to be improved since some people are hesitant to shop there at night. The parking lot also floods in some areas and needs repaving.
Sentara has lease the former ATC Fitness site on the southeast corner of Wards Corner and plans to develop an urgent care facility.
The Denby Park/Cottage Row/Oakdale Farms community will be the site of the August 6, 2013 Night Out event in Norfolk. The theme will be “Growing a Better Community.” The civic league is looking for volunteers and sponsors. Those interested in helping should contact LaCrystal Locks at 757-348-6739 or RJ Luce at 757-404-8072.