Thanks again to Karen Mayne for the following minutes:
The Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting
September 12, 2013
Council Members Barclay Winn and Terry Whibley were present.
Police reports for Wards Corner precincts will be given to the task force in written format rather than announced by a police officer. This will allow the Community Resource Officers to focus their time on attending civic league meetings for more in-depth discussions of issues of concern to the neighborhoods.
Department of Development
Suburban Park Shopping Center Update – The shopping center will have a new name: K and K Square at Wards Corner. This name will honor Kenneth and Katherine Perry, who founded the original shopping center. Harris Teeter is ahead of schedule on construction, with a possible opening date of February 2014. All spaces in the shopping center are leased except one at the southern end. It is hoped a local eatery will lease the space.
The BP gas station on the northeast corner is under contract by a developer, who is looking for an end user (not another gas station) with a potential building space of about 4000 square feet, plus on-site parking. One potential lessor is 7-11. The civic league representatives agreed that they are not interested in having a 7-11 at this location. The asking price for the property is $750,000. The group discussed the possibility of the City purchasing the property for a small open space for the public art that is planned for Wards Corner.
Update on Budget Priorities
The City has allocated $1 million for the current fiscal year for Wards Corner redevelopment efforts. For the past three years, the priority has been to use the annual allocations for acquisition of blighted properties in the Denby Park. The task force confirmed that acquisition of properties in that area remains the priority. It will take about $4.5 – $5 million to finish acquisition of blighted properties. Demolition should begin soon on the properties the City acquired last year – all required demolition permits have been received.
Update on Norfolk Southern Railroad
It was clarified that Norfolk Southern does not have plans to expand a storage yard adjacent to Terminal Boulevard. There are, however, additional container trains coming to the port, which sometimes back up in that area for loading and unloading at Norfolk International Terminal.
The Public Art Committee for Wards Corner has a Request for Proposals out for artists to submit ideas for a public art concept for Wards Corner. Proposals are due to the committee in October.
The Suburban Acres Civic League submitted requests to the City’s traffic division regarding through trucks on Virginian Drive, and parking on both sides of the 100 block of Suburban Parkway in the vicinity of Norfolk Collegiate. The civic league would like the “no through trucks” signs restored on Virginian, and a return to single-sided parking on Suburban Parkway. The civic league is also concerned about an exterior light that has been out on Suburban Park Elementary since spring. No action has been taken despite a Norfolk Cares request.
Suburban Park Elementary needs a new American flag – the old one was removed last year and not replaced.
Parking on the grass at residences along West Little Creek Road is of ongoing concern. Police will look into this enforcement issue.
The lighting situation in the Wards Corner Shopping Center is a safety concern to the public and police. Most of the parking lot lighting is turned off at about 9:00 pm, even though Dollar Tree is open until 10:00 pm. The Department of Development will talk to the owners of the shopping center and Rite Aid about leaving the lights on until all stores are closed.
The City will host a Front Porch Summit for civic leagues on October 19th at the Southside Aquatics Center.