Public Forum regarding the redevelopment of Meadowbrook School site

February 13, 2014

Please come out to support Meadowbrook Civic League’s stance against too much density at the Meadowbrook School site.  The City is holding a “Community Input Opportunity” on February 19, 2014 at 7pm at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 7400 Hampton Boulevard.

They are asking the neighboring neighborhoods to come and support the Meadowbrook Civic League Proposal, and they need Civic League representatives from throughout the City to come and support them.  There is an online petition with 336 supporters so far.  Here is the link, please sign on: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-meadowbrook-school-park.html

They also have a Facebook page where you can “LIKE” the Meadowbrook Civic League Position: https://www.facebook.com/SaveMeadowbrookSchoolPark

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Message to Norfolk City Council: Restore the funding to Wards Corner

April 19, 2013
WVEC Funding to help revitalize Wards Corner neighborhood slashed

WVEC Funding to help revitalize Wards Corner neighborhood slashed

WVEC is reporting on the reduced funding planned for the Wards Corner Neighborhood plan.  Their article and video can be viewed on their website.

I encourage you to contact City Council either by email or by attending the public budget hearing scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 at 6pm at Granby High School.  Their contact info is located on the City Council website: http://www.norfolk.gov/index.aspx?NID=533

The WVEC article:

NORFOLK — For years the City of Norfolk would allocate millions of dollars to revitalizing the Wards Corner area, but this year the funds are getting slashed.

City spokeswoman Lori Crouch says the City Manager was able to scrape and provide $750,000 for the proposed FY 2014 budget.

“The city is fiscally stressed,” said Crouch.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

Year                   Allocation for Implementation of the Wards Corner Plan
2014                  $750,000 (proposed)
2013                  $2,000,000
2012                  $1,000,000
2011                  $1,767,500

Less money being allocated to the neighborhood isn’t sitting well with residents, businesses owners or patrons of Wards Corner.

Martin Thomas Jr. says less money coming in now could jeopardize overall progress.

Previous funds were used to purchase and demolish blighted and crime-inducing properties in sections of Denby Park.  The City purchased 68 units in 2011 and demolished them in 2012. In addition, 37 apartment units were bought in 2013.  Once the tenants are relocated the units will be demolished.

Next year, a new shopping plaza featuring Harris Teeter is scheduled to open in Wards Corner.

Thomas is concerned if there is no effort in ridding blighted properties around the shopping center, it will have a negative impression on investors.

“If we can show those businesses that this is a nice place to open and you are going to get a good clientele, that effect will cause more and more redevelopment in the Wards Corner area,” Thomas said.


Pilot editorial writer, Michelle Washington, pushes for Denby Park renaissance

October 21, 2012

Virginian-Pilot editorial writer, Michelle Washington, wrote an article about the continuing crime in Denby Park and the KaBoom! park that is so crime ridden that it is considered by some to be unsafe for their children.  Read the article here.

But they [LaCrystal Locks and Melissa Torbert] are not willing to accept a Denby Park without a place for kids to play. They focus on a future when the renaissance blooming near them at Wards Corner and further up Little Creek at the Walmart shopping center finally engulfs the streets named for Texas cities that evoke the opposite of its wide open spaces.

When that day comes, they hope Denby Park can once again host a playground, a real park with plenty of green fields for little ones to run, picnic tables for watching parents, and yes, a brightly colored jungle gym.

Despite all of the great news lately about the redevelopment of Wards Corner, we must continue to focus on the substandard housing in Denby Park that breeds and attracts crime.  That is why the recommendation of the Wards Corner Taskforce continues to be that the City Manager purchase and demolish more of the apartments in the 300 blocks of E. Little Creek Road, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.


6th annual Suburban Acres 4th of July Parade and Blue Ribbon Dessert Contest 10:00 am Monday

July 3, 2011

Join the Suburban Acres neighbors in a classic celebration of American freedom by parading through their wonderful neighborhood.   Meet on Monday morningJuly 4th at Suburban Park Elementary @ 9:30 — andthe parade will step off @ 10:00. 

Parade Route: Depart from Suburban Park Elementary > up Carl Street > left on Suburban Parkway > left on Galveston Boulevard > ending at the school.  (If you’re not marching, bring a chair and cheer us along the route)

Norfolk Police , Norfolk Sheriff’s Dept.,  NFD Ladder 9, Norfolk Tide’s very own RIP TIDE!, and many others are joining in the celebration! 

****There will also be a  Blue Ribbon dessert contest, so put on your aprons and create your best dessert***


The Civic League will be set up at the school  to provide refreshments after the parade.
This is a classic event and a great time to meet your neighbors!   Bring your bikes, wagons, riders, dogs, power wheels, small convertibles, kids, floats, small marching bands, spirit…and come join our community celebration for the birthday of the greatest country known to man!

For more information call Suburban Acres Secretary , Dee Adams  353-1506


Meeting Saturday, Feb. 19 at 8:30am

February 9, 2011

Please attend the Wards Corner Now meeting  Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.

Agenda:

1.  Syble stone, Vice Chair of the Norfolk Planning Commission.

2.  Denby Park property acquisition update

3.  Redevelopment update

4.  Collins project- Update on project and recent proposed changes to design.


Wards Corner Now meeting Saturday morning

December 15, 2010

Please make time to attend the meeting this Saturday morning at 8:30 at the Fitness and Wellness Center.  The Agenda includes:

1.  Possible Country Bar in Wards Corner

2.  Thrift Store – update

3.  Collins apartment project – update

4.  New business


Thrift Store at Wards Corner on Agenda for this Saturday

November 17, 2010

Agenda for this Saturday’s Wards Corner Now meeting:

  • Proposed Thrift Store in Wards Corner Business District
  • Art Collins to present on his revised apartment community plan

Please attend and let your elected officials know how you feel about the two above proposals.  The meeting is this Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.


“History” section added to WardsCornerNow.com

November 15, 2010
Undated Wards Corner post card, Carroll Walker Collection

Undated Wards Corner post card, Carroll Walker Collection

Inspired by Robert B. Hitchings’ presentation on the History of Wards Corner, we have added a History section to the website.  You can visit the History section by clicking here.  The information and images posted were found in the Sargeant Memorial Room of the Norfolk Main Library.


Wards Corner Now meeting Saturday, October 16 @ 8:30am

October 14, 2010

The apartments in Denby Park are going to be razed to make way for a world class youth baseball venue.  Lowe’s, hh gregg, and a major hotel are all moving into the Wards Corner Business district.

Do you dream of such things?  Then come to the Wards Corner Now meeting this Saturday and lets talk about the happenings at our Corner of Norfolk.    Councilman Protogyrou will be there to give a report as well.

Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.


Wards Corner Now meeting Saturday, 8:30am at Fitness and Wellness Center

September 14, 2010

Remember that Wards Corner Now is having our meeting this Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.  Please plan on attending.  The Agenda is below.

Agenda

A.  Presentation by Councilman Andy Protogyrou on the results of his meeting with various City departments regarding the redevelopment of Wards Corner.

B.  Other Business.


Wards Corner Now meeting minutes from July 17, 2010

August 2, 2010

Wards Corner Now had a meeting on July 17, 2010, at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center.  As is customary with WCN meetings, the facilitator of the meeting is rotated month-to-month and Martin Thomas, Jr., chaired this meeting.  Topics covered were: the initial phase of the DePaul site master plan and the new Norfolk Collegiate arts center.  In addition, short updates were made on the status of the following items: Denby Park, Talbot Hall, Walgreens, the proposed Collins Enterprises project and AJ Gators.  Over forty-five area residents attended the meeting, including City Council members Barclay Winn and Andy Protogyrou.  Below is a short summary, nothing is verbatim.

Bon Secours DePaul Hospital Initial Design Phase

Jim McDonnell introduced Roger Soto, president of the design group working on the development of the Bon Secours site.  Mr. Soto indicated that a master plan is in its early stages of development but that there is an immediate need for the construction of a medical office building to house doctors’ practices and a comprehensive, freestanding cancer center which would be one of the first in the region.

In the development of the master plan Bon Secours plans to engage with neighborhood groups in much the same way as they did in Richmond while planning for St. Francis Hospital.  A master plan charrette occurring in approximately 2-3 months will be part of this process.

The medical office building will be constructed in the current parking lot as close to the hospital and as far away from Ridgley Rd. as possible.  Currently there are 2 openings on Ridgley which would be closed and everything would be oriented to Kingsley Lane.  The edge bordering the neighborhood would be enhanced.  There will be no visible mechanical plant and Mr. Soto indicated that the design company is working on a neighborhood-friendly solution to trash.

The shape of the building is determined by the function of the cancer center and will include an entrance water feature and healing garden.  The 4-story building has a step down on the Ridgley Road side with the intention of more easily integrating into the neighborhood.  The cancer center will include a café, meeting rooms and chapel which will be open to the community when not in use.

Norfolk Collegiate School Fine Arts Complex

Councilman Andy Protogyrou introduced Scott Kennedy, headmaster of Norfolk Collegiate School.  Mr. Kennedy reviewed the Norfolk Collegiate Board of Trustees’ commitment to remain connected to the community and to remain in their current space.  As part of the ongoing strategic building plan, a fine arts complex will be built in the area of the medical building adjacent to the Granby Street property.  The complex which will provide arts experience instructional areas for students much of which will also be available to the community.  The vision for this space includes a 456-seat theater and secure galleries.

Updates

  • Denby Park – The potential for Denby Park to become a baseball and athletic complex was brought forward again at the Wards Corner Task Force meeting.
  • Talbot Hall – The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia is putting together a task force which will seek input from neighbors and local parishioners and make recommendations to the diocesan Property Committee.  The final recommendation committee recommendation date has been pushed back to the beginning of 2011.
  • Walgreens – The hearing for an application to sell alcohol has been rescheduled for August.
  • Collins Enterprises – No information has been received yet.  We are waiting to hear from the developer.
  • AJ Gators – The goal for opening the new location in the first part of August.  Civic leagues will be notified of any special activities.

Additional Items of Interest

  • Councilman Andy Protogyrou – With the goal of maintaining the focus on Wards Corner, Councilman Protogyrou has requested of the City Manager a meeting with all city departments for a report all activities related to the area and is eliciting questions for the departments.
  • Beautification Concerns – A concern was raised regarding the condition of the crepe myrtles planted along the city easement on West Little Creek Road from Tapley Avenue east through Titustown.  The Thole Street medians were also mentioned as an area which needed attention due to being unkempt.
  • ATC Fitness – ATC Fitness is moving to the northwest corner of Wards Corner.

Wards Corner Now meeting Saturday, 8:30am at Fitness and Wellness Center

July 13, 2010

Remember that Wards Corner Now is having our meeting this Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.  Please plan on attending.  The Agenda is below.

Agenda

A.  Presentation by Architect Roger Soto of ODELL Associates and Landscape Architect Keith Van Inwegen of Higgins & Gerstenmaier on the design of the new DePaul Medical Center

B.  An update on Norfolk Collegiate’s Fine and Performing Arts Center

C.  Other Business.


Proposed Denby Baseball Park

June 30, 2010

A number of neighbors have been talking about an idea that was discussed in our article “Replace Texas Streets with new ballfields.”  After further discussion it appears that neighbors, including some residents of the Denby Park neighborhood, are interested in further exploring the idea of building baseball fields in Denby Park to replace the fields lost at Fleet Park.  Below you will see a slideshow of the following images:  Current Map of Denby Park, Current Satellite view of Denby Park, Proposed Denby Baseball Park, and Fleet Park superimposed over the proposed Denby Baseball Park.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can see above that the proposed Denby Baseball Park is about the same size as the current Fleet Park.

The proposed Denby Baseball Park is 23.73 Acres and the total of the assessed value of the properties in the park area is $19,534,000.  Please provide your thoughts in the comments section, below.


Wards Corner Now meeting minutes

June 21, 2010

Wards Corner Now – June 19, 2010

Wards Corner Now had a meeting on June 19, 2010, at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center.  As is customary with WCN meetings, the facilitator of the meeting is rotated month-to-month and Louis Eisenberg chaired this meeting.  Topics covered were: the proposed Collins Enterprises revised plans for the site where the Riverside Terrace apartments are located; Talbot Hall, Southeast Virginia Episcopal Diocesan Center; and AJ Gators update.  Forty area residents attended the meeting, including City Council member-elect Andy Protogyrou.  Below is a short summary, nothing is verbatim.

Landmark at Talbot Park and Proposed Construction at Riverside Terrace – Rick Anderson, representing Collins Enterprises, reviewed what has occurred thus far on the property – 1 condo building and the reconstruction of one street.  The proposal involves developing apartment buildings housing 189 units along the front of the property facing Newport Avenue and reserving the rest of the property for condo units.  Rationale for this proposed change – from an all-condo site – is as follows:

  • It took 2 years to sell 9 units in the current building.
  • Riverside Terrace Apartments are 60 years old and require extensive maintenance.
  • Current income is at or below break even.

Mr. Anderson indicated that this is a HUD insured loan and a market rate project.  A one-bedroom apartment will rent for just under $1,000 and the renter would have to make $30,000 in order to qualify.  A three-bedroom apartment would rent for about $1,500 a month and minimum income would be $50,000.  There would be 189 apartments with people making more than double the current tenant income level.  Property amenities would include common area meeting rooms and exercise facilities.  It was suggested that to be Class A, a pool and tennis courts would need to be included also.  Demolition would beginning the 1st quarter of 2011 and the building would be finished the 3rd quarter of 2012.

The four-floor project would be similar in appearance to the one on Bolling Avenue.

Mr. Anderson indicated that Collins representatives had met with members of the Wards Corner Task Force regarding concerns and that the company was willing to implement part of it.

Past City Council member Conoly Phillips, as a resident of another Collins Enterprises apartment, Heritage at Freemason Harbor, spoke in favor of the proposed project.

Numerous concerns, suggestions and questions were raised by meeting attendees, including the following:

  • The proposed plan is a major change from the original plan.
  • The density will negatively impact the surrounding neighborhood.
  • This area is not downtown and projects that work there would not necessarily work in the Wards Corner area.
  • While there may be the best of intentions regarding income qualifications, the possibility of several unrelated folks renting together could bypass the requirement and would exacerbate density problems.  Mr. Anderson indicated that Collins has control over how many people live in apartments and that management and maintenance folks would check.
  • The area is inundated with low rent apartments – 17 within a .5 mile radius – and the neighborhood does not need more.  Instead, we need more established residences.
  • We have a vision for the area – and a comprehensive plan – and this project does not fit that vision.
  • Collins Enterprises needs to slow down and look at best choices for the long term; wait and do it right the first time.
  • One suggestion is to start with the waterfront and build single family homes first.  Then as financing is freed up, build condos along the front.
  • Another suggestion is to look at building luxury housing for seniors.
  • A concern was raised regarding assurances that the plan for the rest of the property would not change.  Mr. Anderson responded that folks could rely upon the word of Collins Enterprises that it would not.
  • Neighbors who own homes which back on to the proposed project have concerns regarding the impact the shift from condos to high density apartments would have on their quality of life.
  • Another factor in the difficulties surrounding the sale of the current condos – and those in building 2 – is their location with regard to the Riverside Terrace Apartments.  In addition, if the new apartments are built, the density would restrict the ability to sell upscale condos behind them on the property.
  • The problem is that Collins Enterprises focus on the bottom line is not balanced with community needs.
  • One member explained that it was not development in general – or Collins Enterprises in particular – that was being opposed but the current project proposal.

The Wards Corner Now attendees then discussed next steps:

  • Changes must go to Planning Commission and City Council for approval.
  • We as a community have to show a groundswell of opposition to support Commission and Council votes against the changes.

For the record a vote was taken.  Unanimously, the 40 meeting attendees were opposed to the new Collins Enterprises proposal and support retaining the original plan or something better – i.e., single family housing.

An additional next step would be to hold a charrette with all interested parties present so that representatives from Collins Enterprises would be fully informed about what the community wants and needs.

Adjacent homeowners need to contact the Planning Commission to ensure that the homeowners are informed when action is being taken to change site plans.

Talbot Hall – Jay Taylor, resident of Talbot Hall neighborhood, discussed concerns related to the possible sale of  Talbot Hall, which belongs to the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Virginia.  A diocesan Property Committee has been formed to decide what to do with the property.  With the sale and possible development is the threat of loss of the 1803 historically significant house which is on the property as well as 8 acres of land and of the impact on the wetlands.  The Property Committee has stated that they are interested in a solution that is good for both the diocese and the community.

A neighborhood ad hoc committee is taking the opportunity to put together recommendations and needs assistance.  A Facebook page, Save Talbot Hall, gives additional information.

The diocese is holding 2 town hall meetings at 6:30 pm in the Church of the Ascension on Talbot Hall Road:

  • Wednesday, June 30
  • Thursday, July 15

The ad hoc committee is requesting the attendance of  Wards Corner Now members at one or both of the meetings.

AJ Gators – Anticipated opening of the AJ Gators on the southeast corner of Wards Corner is anticipated to be in late July or early August.  The existing AJ Gators will be changed, renamed and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Look for the grand opening announcement.

Faith-based Partners – The pastor of the TAB Church was in attendance and Louis Eisenberg recognized him and asked him to assist us in eliciting the participation of other faith-based partners.

July Meeting Agenda Items: Talbot Hall, Collins Enterprises and Norfolk Collegiate Updates


Wards Corner Now meeting Saturday, 8:30am at Fitness and Wellness Center

June 15, 2010

Remember that Wards Corner Now is having our meeting this Saturday at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.  Please plan on attending.  The Agenda is below.

Agenda

A.  The Landing at Talbot Park

B.  An update on Norfolk Collegiate

C.  Update on A.J. Gators

D.  Other Business.


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