Great American Cleanup events scheduled

April 30, 2014

knbKeep Norfolk Beautiful is the Norfolk affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.  They are holding Keep Norfolk Beautiful Day on May 3, 2014.

Suburban Acres Civic League and Wards Corner Civic League have both scheduled cleanup events as a part of Keep Norfolk Beautiful Day and The Great American Cleanup.  Your help and attendance is needed!

Suburban Acres asks that you meet on Saturday, May 3rd at the corner of Thole Street and Galveston Blvd. at Suburban Park Elementary.  The Cleanup is between 9am and 12pm.  Gloves, bags, refreshments provided.  Bring waders/boots if you have them. for more information

Wards Corner asks that you meet on Saturday, May 3rd at our Adopt-a-Spot area (Ruthven and W. Little Creek).  The Cleanup begins at 8am and only takes about an hour.  Gloves, trash bags and safety vests provided.  Questions?? Call Ray Duron 423-4337.



Public art location chosen at Wards Corner

April 27, 2014
Wards Corner public art artist, Gordon Huether

Wards Corner public art artist, Gordon Huether

The Wards Corner public art selection committee met last week on April 22 at Wards Corner with the chosen artist, Gordon Huether.  Karen Rudd, Manager of Norfolk’s Cultural Affairs, was in attendance as well as various City department staff and a representative from the developer of K & K Square.

Huether walked and drove the Wards Corner area and reached a recommended location in the median on Granby Street at the current location of the Wards Corner Mermaid sign located just south of the intersection with North Shore Rd.

Proposed location of public art at Wards Corner

Proposed location of public art at Wards Corner

Huether preferred this location to something closed to the intersection of Little Creek and Granby as it has less audio and visual noise.

It is hoped that the art can replace the current sign and be a gateway piece that may incorporate a new Wards Corner sign.

Huether will mock up a few different options and bring those back to the selection committee in the near future.


Moe’s Southwest Grill opens Thursday at Wards Corner

April 25, 2014

moes-logoMoe’s Southwest Grill opens Thursday, May 1, 2014 at its new Wards Corner location.  The new store is located at the Corner of Granby St and E. Little Creek Road in the new K & K Square shopping center anchored by Harris Teeter.

About Moe’s Southwest Grill, from their website:

Founded in December 2000 in Atlanta, GA, Moe’s Southwest Grill® is a fun and engaging fast-casual restaurant franchise serving a wide variety of fresh, made-to-order Southwest fare in a welcoming environment that rocks.

The first thing you’ll hear when you walk into the restaurant is an enthusiastic, “Welcome to Moe’s! ® ” It’s more than just our rally cry. It embodies the entire culture. Everybody is welcome at Moe’s. Except, of course, fugitives.

With more than 20 incredibly fresh ingredients like all-natural chicken, grass-fed steak and organic tofu to create one-of-a-kind meals, Moe’s has everyone covered, from meat lovers to tree huggers to vegetarians and flexitarians. While we are best known for our awesome burritos, our menu also features kids’, vegetarian and low-calorie options – all served with free chips and salsa.

The only thing we don’t have: microwaves.

From our menu items with fun, pop-culture inspired names like Earmuffs, Wrong Doug, Close Talker and Joey Bag of Donuts to our killer, hand-selected playlist of tunes that pay homage to dearly departed musicians, it’s safe to say we roll to our own beat.

Moe’s currently serves the most awesome Southwest fare at more than 500 locations in the United States and abroad. In August 2007, Moe’s Southwest Grill joined FOCUS Brands Inc. Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands Inc. is the franchisor and operator of over 4,300 Carvel® Ice Cream, Cinnabon® Bakery, Schlotzsky’s® Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, Auntie Anne’s® Pretzels and McAlister’s® Deli locations, as well as the franchisor of Seattle’s Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets.

Lafayette-Winona Middle School Transformation

April 24, 2014

Dr. Brad Robinson, a member of the Norfolk School Board, passes along the following information about the Lafayette-Winona Middle School Transformation meetings:

lwsApril 24: An information session is scheduled at Lafayette-Winona for parents of rising LWMS sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students.  At the meeting, parents will receive an overview from Dr. King, followed by a personalized letter from the principal of their proposed receiving middle school and a presentation from that principal.  Parents also will receive information about specialty programs such as the Academy of International Studies at Rosemont  (5:30 p.m. at LWMS).

April 28: A School Board public hearing is scheduled to receive public input regarding the proposed closure of Lafayette-Winona Middle School.  Following that meeting, the School Board will make a final decision regarding the
closure  (6 p.m. at LWMS).

Check the NPS web site for more details:

FY2015 Budget and Wards Corner

April 23, 2014

City Manager Marcus Jones presented his 2015 City Budget last night to City Council.  It is a whopping 652 pages.  You can view it on the City of Norfolk website here.  I have also put a copy on Wards Corner Now’s servers for download (17MB, PDF).

The following are sections of the budget that I found to related to the greater Wards Corner area:

Terminal Blvd

Terminal Blvd

Repair Terminal Blvd. Concrete Pavement. (page 493)
Project Description:  Provide funds to rehabilitate failing concrete pavement along Terminal Blvd. The roadway consists of a reinforced concrete surface that was built by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in 1973. It carries over 6,000 trucks in each direction daily. The total cost to repair the road by replacing sections of concrete is estimated at $7.0 million, $3.5 million for each side of the road. This project is partially funded through the VDOT revenue sharing program at 50 percent of the total project cost.

This budget proposes  $1,750,000 in 2015 and $1,750,000 in the 2016 budget.


Implement Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan (NP) (page 531)
Project Description:  Provide funds to support activities outlined in the Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan. Funding for this project also supports land acquisition, infrastructure improvements, and redevelopment initiatives that allow the strategic revitalization of the area in accordance with the Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan. Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) will provide support to this project in an effort to meet the goals of the Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan.

Marcus proposes $1 million in this 2015 budget for the Wards Corner plan.  We can assume that this money will go to the continued efforts to purchase and remove the blighted properties in and around Denby Park.

Prior year budget allocations:
2010: $1,010,000
2011: $1,767,500
2012: $1,000,000
2013: $1,000,000
2014: $1,000,000

Coming soon: A new Granby Street bridge?

Coming soon: A new Granby Street bridge?

Repair and Replace Bridges – Major (page 495)
Project Description: Provide funds for the replacement, repair, upgrade, or demolition of key bridge structures that are in significant stages of deterioration. FY 2015 funding will be used for the replacement of Pescara Creek Culvert, Spotico Creek Culvert, design of Granby Street Bridge  over Lafayette River, and the rehabilitation of the Botetourt Street Pedestrian Bridge

This proposed budget allocates $1,000,000 to the above bridge repair and replacement.  Included in that allocation is money for the design of a (new?) Granby Street Bridge.

The current span was built in 1979.  It is 992.1 feet long and handles about 30,000 vehicles per day.  It was last inspected by VDOT in October of 2012 at which time the deck condition was rated as Satisfactory and the Super & Sub conditions were Fair.


Wards Corner Task Force meeting minutes – April 2014

April 13, 2014

Thanks to Karen Mayne for the following meeting minutes from the April 10, 2014 meeting:

The Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting

April 10, 2014

Council Members Barclay Winn, Andy Protogyrou, and Terry Whibley, and Mayor Paul Fraim were present.

Police Reports

Future police reports will include the entire area of the Greater Wards Corner Task Force so that neighborhoods will know what is happening throughout the area.

Public Art

Karen Rudd, Manger of Norfolk’s Cultural Affairs, provided an overview of the artist who was selected to design the public art for Wards Corner.  Gordon Huether of Napa, California, will come to Norfolk in several weeks to look at the area and meet with the public arts selection committee and the developers of K&K Square and Midtown Shopping Center.  The City has allocated $150,000 for the project, which should take about a year to complete.  The City’s public art program is funded through donations and from a set-aside of 1 percent of all Capital Improvement Projects over $500,000.  Norfolk leads the way in the region in its support of public art projects.

Public Works

Karen Mayne reported on a meeting between the Norfolk Right-of-Way/Transportation staff and task force representatives.  The group discussed traffic congestion and signaling around the intersection of Little Creek and Granby Street.  Traffic engineers will wait to see how traffic moves through the intersection at the new K&K Square before deciding whether to turn the right northbound lane on Granby Street at Little Creek Road into a right turn only lane.  There is concern that doing so could create a hazard to pedestrians.  The new traffic light that will be installed on Little Creek Road between the K&K Square and Midtown Shopping Center should help with traffic in that area.  It was requested that the City consider reestablishing the audio-visual crossing signal for pedestrians at that light, but the FHWA has new rules that may make such a signal cost prohibitive.  The issue of illegal left turns coming out of Virginian Drive onto Little Creek Road has no structural solution due to the narrowness of the road; enforcement is the best solution.  The City will be repairing/replacing the faux-brick crosswalks with a new and stronger material.

Department of Development

Sam’s Club will rebuild at the old K-Mart property after demolishing the building.  Wal-Mart is proposing a gas station as part of this project.

The Albano’s Cleaners in Titustown on Little Creek Road is closing.  The company is restructuring its business.  A new Albano’s will be at K&K Square.

The demolition of the Denby Park properties acquired by the City last year was delayed by the winter weather and should be completed in May.

Community Reports

The rezoning of the Talbot Hall property to allow for the construction of 14 private homes and roads will go before the planning commission on April 24.

Dr. Barbara Laws of Norfolk Public Schools has been named the 2014 National Supervision/Administrator Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association.  The award recognizes exemplary contributions, service, and achievements of art educators.  (Dr. Laws also serves on the committee that selected Gordon Huether for the public art at Wards Corner.)  Congratulations, Barbara!!

Reminder: Wards Corner Community Day at K & K Square This Saturday!

April 10, 2014

Wards Corner Community Day
K & K Square
This Saturday, April 12, 11am – 3pm
Free and Open to the Public
Rain Date April 13

The merchants of K & K Square and the Virginia Arts Festival have planned a fun filled day for families to enjoy the wonderful new shops and services in their neighborhood.  Enjoy live music, food and raffle prizes, mini cupcakes from Twisted Sisters and activities for the entire family.

Kids will definitely have lots to do, from a bounce house, to face painting, to stilt walkers, jugglers and crafts. All of the activities are outside, so come and go as you please.

Join the wonderful merchants of K &K Square; Harris Teeter, Subway, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Starbucks, TowneBank, Albano Cleaners, GNC, nTelos, and Great Clips as they welcome you to Wards Corner Community Day at K & K Square.

Raffle Prizes include: Gift Cards to Starbucks & Moe’s Southwest Grill, Tickets to Virginia Arts Festival performances of Dance Theater of Harlem, Ben-Hur, and Virginia International Tattoo, Kindle, Blu-Ray Player, $500 Harris Teeter Shopping card, and even an iPad Air!

Media support provided by 92.9 The Wave and 97.3 The Eagle


Glasgow Kiss                11:00 am

On the Bright Side         12:00 pm

The Rhythm Project         1:00 pm

Rust City Ramblers         2:00 pm

Sam’s Club coming to old Kmart location

April 9, 2014

samsThe Virginian-Pilot is reporting that Sam’s Club will be building a store at the old Kmart location at Tidewater Driven and E. Little Creek Road.  The story:

Sam’s Club plans to open its first Norfolk store at the site of the former Kmart on East Little Creek Road and Tidewater Drive, according to documents filed with the city on Monday.

Sam’s – part of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. – is requesting permission to sell tires and alcohol for off-premise consumption. The company also wants to build a gas station that would serve the new Sam’s Club and an existing Wal-Mart to the south.

Sam’s plans to tear down the Kmart building that sits on the southeast side of the intersection of East Little Creek and Tidewater. In its place, the company would build a 135,000-square-foot warehouse for its club members, according to preliminary site plans issued with the requests.

Kmart occupied the location for nearly 40 years, but it closed last summer after officials of Sears Holdings Corp., Kmart’s beleaguered parent company, decided to close many stores across the country.

Norfolk Development Director Steven Anderson told the City Council on Tuesday that Sam’s is expected to generate $800,000 in annual sales tax revenue from $80 million in annual sales.

The store will cost $20 million and create 180 jobs, he said. An opening date has not been set.

Norfolk already is home to BJ’s Wholesale Club and Costco Wholesale, which are half a mile apart near Military Circle. Sam’s Club already has four stores in the region: two in Chesapeake and one each in Virginia Beach and Newport News.

Debates to be held at Granby High on April 15, 2014

April 8, 2014

The Norfolk Branch NAACP, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, and the League of Women Voters of South Hampton Roads are joining together to sponsor two political debates in April 2014.

First:  On Tuesday, April 15, 2014 in the Granby High School Auditorium from 7PM to 8:30PM.   Ms. Barbara Hamm Lee from WHRO will moderator the event.

On Stage:
Mayoral candidates – Mayor Paul Fraim, Michael Muhammad and Jane Bethel
Ward 5 candidates – Councilman Tommy Smigiel and Jim Driggers

Second:  On Tuesday, April 17, 2014 in the Booker T. Washington High School Auditorium from 7PM to 8:30PM.  Dr. Carol Pretlow, Associate Professor, NSU, will moderate the event.

On Stage:
Ward 3 candidates – William Collins, Jr.; Mamie Johnson; Glen Jones, Sr.; Rodney Jordan; Marcus Powell; and Lionell Spruill, Jr.
Ward 4 candidates – Councilman Paul Riddick and Billy Cook

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