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.

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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.


Denby Park’s KaBoom Park to be moved?

June 29, 2011

Citing continued crime at the KaBoom park, the City and the Denby Park Civic League are making moves to close the park and relocate it to a safer portion of Monticello village.

 

The park was built in August 2008 by over 400 volunteers and with a grant from the Chrysler Foundation.    It is located at 352 San Antonio Blvd.

As a reminder, page 28 of the 2003 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.


A message of thanks

August 22, 2008

A sincere and heartfelt “Thank You!” goes out to the Chrysler Corporation, KaBOOM!, the City of Norfolk, and most certainly those citizens who helped construct the park in Denby Park yesterday.

The article in the Virginian-Pilot has photos and a video.


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