The Downtowner Features Ward 1 Councilman On Its Cover

October 27, 2016

Have you picked up The Downtowner this week? An article on Martin Thomas Jr. is featured prominently on the cover! Councilman Thomas has been one of Wards Corners most effective advocates. Here are some highlights:

“With an educational foundation in urban planning, strong family ties to the Hampton Roads area, years of experience as an attorney, and a civic-minded background, Martin A. Thomas Jr. has the perfect credentials for city council. Jim English, longtime president of the Wards Corner Civic League, told The Virginian Pilot during Thomas’ campaign “Thomas knows how to negotiate, how the city works and how to get things done.” Don Musacchio, president of the Willoughby Civic League, told The Virginian Pilot that Thomas “has a knack for gathering the facts, asking questions and then convincing people of the right path forward.”

“Utilizing his educational and professional experience in public and urban planning, Thomas hopes to secure funding and execute the comprehensive plan in the best way possible. According to Thomas, work is “about halfway done at the moment.” He believes the plan is essential to the growth of Ward 1 and “we must continue to work this plan, period.”

Thomas aims to make Wards Corner an economically vibrant and family oriented destination. This will be accomplished with restaurants, small businesses, and neighborhood shopping centers. “A small business growing into a large business is the best thing that can happen for any local economy.”


Home invasion in Denby Park

June 9, 2015

299661While the City has made great strides in Denby Park by purchasing some of the substandard housing and tearing it down, there continues to be a criminal element plaguing that neighborhood.  This is why Wards Corner Now and the Wards Corner Task Force continue to support the implementation of the Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan which calls for the acquisition and demolition of the undesirable housing and the replacement thereof with a mixed use development, making use of the Uptown Norfolk concept.

According to the Virginian-Pilot, on June 9, 2015:

Two men burst into a home this morning in the 300 block of E. Little Creek Road and stole a man’s vehicle and other items.

The home invasion was reported at 4 a.m., a police news release says.

The resident suffered minor injuries and was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

The man’s vehicle is described as a 2002 gray Chevrolet Trail Blazer with Ohio license plates.

No description was given of the two robbers.

Police are asking anyone with information to call the Robbery Division at 664-7032, or Norfolk Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP

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.


Reminder: PlaNorfolk 2030 meeting this Thursday at 6pm in Wards Corner

October 31, 2011
Draft Future Land Use Map

Draft Future Land Use Map

This is a reminder that you should come out Thursday at 6pm at the Workforce Development Center for a community meeting to review and discuss the proposed General Plan.  The plan does include the recommendations of the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan and will provide a Vision for the Wards Corner Area for many years to come.

The Workforce Development Center is located at 201 E. Little Creek Road, next to Kroger.

Join us to discuss and critique the plan.  Your comments and suggestions will be included in considerations for the final Plan.

The draft chapters and the draft land use map can be found here.

The flyer advertising the various plaNorfolk 2030 community meetings is here.

Virginian-Pilot’s Editorial page pushes WC revitalization

August 22, 2011

The article is here.

Notable quotes:

The city found a way to accomplish what it intended for Denby Park, even without eminent domain powers: It negotiated with property owners to buy derelict apartments so it could tear them down.

Wards Corner residents hailed the move as the beginning of change. That’s what it is: a beginning. If tearing down the Denby apartments helps reduce crime, that also removes one more obstacle to investment.

Residents should keep up the pressure on current property owners to improve their buildings, especially in the neighborhood’s commercial core. So should city officials.

Wards Corner’s future depends on using the momentum created by the purchase of Denby Park to accelerate improvement. Don’t coast now and squander that opportunity.


Pilot Editorial focuses on Wards Corner

July 11, 2011

Again highlighting the City’s failure to adequately address the criminal cancer in Denby Park, the Virginian-Pilot printed an editorial in today’s paper stating, in part:

As it has been for years, though, the solution to Denby Park’s problems is not a playground. Or removing a playground. The solution is in a relentless attention to the problems of Wards Corner: a concentration of poverty, crime.

And that will take much more effort than moving a playground from one lot to another.

The following are the full comments sent to Pilot writer Harry Minium by Martin Thomas, Jr.

The Wards Corner area neighborhoods have been begging the City for years to do something about the criminal element in Denby Park.  The 2003 Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan called for the demolition of the
substandard housing in the 300 blocks of San Antonio Blvd, Fort Worth Ave, and E. Little Creek Road.  Not a single one of the approximately 47 buildings in those blocks has been demolished at this point.

We should not expect the citizens of Norfolk to have to raise their families in a neighborhood, which in those three blocks, is infected with a criminal cancer.

The park, almost immediately after construction, became a hangout for criminals.  I support the Denby Park/Monticello Village civic league in their request to move the park to a safer area where the families in those neighborhoods can enjoy the use the park without concern for their safety.

Pertinent quote from page 28 of the Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan :

[T]he high-density walkup apartments constructed in the Texas Streets section of Denby Park are, for the most part, not desirable housing.  They have been built too close together, without appropriate provision of open space, and without amenities. The maze-like character of the resulting development, its proximity to highly-travelled Little Creek Road and to Interstate – 64 make it unfortunately suitable for drug dealing and for serving as a base for other criminal activity. The Norfolk police report that the situation in these buildings is getting worse. They recommend major change: the acquisition and demolition of these buildings, before the situation has even more adverse impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods.  The many respectable people who are living in these buildings are being victimized by the current situation.

Norfolk’s 2012 Budget Proposal gives Wards Corner $1,000,000

April 27, 2011

The City of Norfolk Proposed Operating and Capital Improvement Budget was presented by the City Manager to City Council on April 26.  The proposed Budget can be found on the City’s website, here.

The proposal includes $1,000,000 to be used in the implementation of the Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan.  The project description states:

Provide funds to improve the residential and business areas of Wards Corner consistent with the Neighborhood Plan. Land Acquisition of blighted property from willing sellers will be pursued based on prioritizing areas in a strategic manner.

The budget (2010) allocated $1,010,000 to the Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan and proposed $1,000,000 for 2011.  The 2011 budget allocated $1,767,500 and proposed $1,000,000 for 2012.

Notably, the 2012 proposal includes a proposed future allocation of $1,000,000 in 2013 after which the funding dries up.  The 2011 budget proposed $1,000,000 each year through 2015.

2012 Proposed Budget for Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan

2012 Proposed Budget for Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan

2011 Budget Proposal for Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan

2011 Budget Proposal for Wards Corner Neighborhood Plan

Replace Texas Streets with new ballfields

May 27, 2010
Fleet Park

Fleet Park

The Navy is shutting down Fleet Park and displacing 6 baseball fields used by the Fleet Park Little League with its 550 Little Leaguers.  The Ocean View Little League lost their playing fields last year as the Navy is no longer allowing them to use Navy fields either.  This was reported on by the Virginian-Pilot here.

Remember the Comprehensive Plan(Page 28):

. . . the high-density walkup apartments constructed in the Texas Streets section of Denby Park are, for the most part, not desirable housing. They have been built too close together, without appropriate provision of open space, and without amenities. The maze-like character of the resulting development, its proximity to highly-travelled Little Creek Road and to Interstate – 64 make it unfortunately suitable for drug dealing and for serving as a base for other criminal activity. The Norfolk police report that the situation in these buildings is getting worse. They recommend major change: the acquisition and demolition of these buildings, before the situation has even more adverse impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods.
Texas Streets Section of Denby Park

Texas Streets Section of Denby Park

The City of Norfolk now has a need for new ballfields for our children.  Let’s consider following the Comprehensive Plan, acquire and demolish the sub-standard housing in the Texas Streets, and build ballfields to replace those lost at Fleet Park.  It would create a centralized place for Fleet Park and Ocean View Little Leagues to call home.

Update: This is an idea that is being floated to gauge support.  This has not been voted on or endorsed in any way by Wards Corner Now or any civic league.

Brewer, Protogyrou, and Saunders Questionnaire

March 31, 2010
Ward One

Ward One

The following email was sent to Ward 1 City Council candidates, Chuck Brewer, Andy Protogyrou, and Barbara Saunders.  (If anyone has an email for Paul Trice, please use the “Contact Us” link on this page and I will invite him to participate).

On behalf of Wards Corner Now  I’d like to thank you all for giving up your time and energy to run for the Ward One council seat.  For the first time ever, Wards Corner Now is contacting candidates with a questionnaire, the responses to which I would like to post on   I plan on posting each of your responses to Question 1 on April 13, Question 2 on April 14, and Question 3 on April 15.

All responses will be due by April 11.  Please include your website and a digital photograph that you would like posted along with your responses.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to visit our website and sign up for the email updates.

I thank you for your cooperation and look forward to the receipt of your responses.  Here are the questions:

1.  As you know, Wards Corner Now concerns itself with issues that directly affect the Greater Wards Corner Area.  Please list and describe those issues that are, in your opinion, the most pressing issues affecting the Greater Wards Corner Area.

2.  Please explain in detail the solutions you intend to utilize to address the issues you identified in question #1, above.

3.  Detail those items in the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan that you believe are incorrect or need to be changed and explain why you believe so.

The Greater Wards Corner Partnership overwhelmingly rejects the development of a CVS Pharmacy

February 26, 2008

Tuesday night, the Greater Wards Corner Partnership rejected the pursuit of CVS Pharmacy to develop a site presently occupied by the BP Gas Station and part of the Midtown Shopping Center parking lot on the Northeast corner of Granby Street and Little Creek Road. The CVS development would be grossly contradictory to what the consultants planned for the Northeast Corner in the Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan.

Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 15th at 7 pm

January 14, 2008

The Greater Wards Corner Partnership will hold a special meeting Tuesday, January 15th at 7:00 pm at the Norfolk Workforce Development Center 201 E. Little Creek Road (next to Kroger) room 202, to discuss moving the The Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan forward. All concerned citizens are welcome and encouraged to attend.

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