Wards Corner Task Force meeting notes for June 12, 2014

June 15, 2014

Thanks to Karen Mayne for her note taking:

The Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting

June 12, 2014

 

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

Norfolk Public Schools

School redistricting is being studied by NPS; no changes will take place during the 2014 – 2015 school year, other than the temporary closing of Lafayette-Winona Middle School.  Lafayette-Winona will close for one year and its students will be placed at the other middle schools throughout the city except for Lake Taylor Middle.  The student census at the other middle schools can accommodate these students.  In the 2015 – 2016 school year, Lafayette-Winona will reopen as a “choice facility” for students in grades 3 – 8, with a focus on international studies and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

The high schools are the major focus of the school redistricting study.  NPS is considering changing the boundaries of the high schools and adding a CTE (Career Technical Education) high school.  NPS will continue to seek public input throughout the study process.

Department of Development

Mid-Town Shopping Center is in negotiations with the Original Mattress Factory and Liberty Tax but leases have not been signed.  A restaurant is also under consideration.

The owner of the Farm Fresh parcel (including the vacant building), Cedar Realty, has put the property up for sale.

K&K Square is still looking for a restaurant to fill the south end of the shopping center.

Department of Public Works

The City will be paving the intersection of Granby Street and Little Creek Road, including the replacement of the crosswalks.

Community Reports

Walgreens will conduct free HIV testing at the Wards Corner store on June 26 – 28.  Hours will be 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm onJune 26 – 27, and 10:00 am – 2:00 pm on June 28.  Flyers about the event are available at the store.

The Oakdale Farms/Denby Park Civic League had a successful week-long trash/debris removal event with the City of Norfolk Waste Management.  A large amount of trash was collected and removed at the curb throughout the week.

The North Shore Road bridges in Algonquin Park/North Shore Point will be repaired/replaced.  The construction plan no longer includes large sidewalks on the bridges at the request of the civic league since there are no sidewalks adjacent to the bridges.  This will save a significant amount of money.  One lane of each bridge will remain open during construction.

The Unimart at 1033 West Little Creek Road has applied for an on-site ABC license, which has been opposed by the Titustown Civic League.

The public art planned for Wards Corner has been delayed.  After the arts commission met with the artist and reviewed his proposals, they asked him to bring back additional concepts.  The commission felt that his concepts did not reflect a connection to the Wards Corner area.

The Task Force will not meet over the summer.  The next meeting will be September 11, 2014 at 8:30 am at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center.


Wards Corner Task Force notes from February 13, 2014

February 16, 2014

Many thanks to Karen Mayne for keeping these notes:

The Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting

February 13, 2014

City Council Member Andy Protogyrou led the meeting.

Parking on the Grass on West Little Creek Road – Leonard Newcomb, Norfolk Zoning Services Manager, said that the City has sent letters to the houses in the 100 – 600 blocks of West Little Creek Road about parking on the grass.  The City will continue to use enforcement but is also trying to find a way to work with property owners to expand driveways.

Public Works

Medians along Granby Street that were damaged during the recent gas line and road work will be restored – damaged vegetation and sprinkler systems will be replaced.  Anchor poles on the southeast side of Granby at Little Creek will be removed by Virginia Power once the weather improves.  The City is looking at potential changes to turn lanes at the southeast junction of Granby and Little Creek and plans to install a traffic signal on East Little Creek Road at K&K Square.  After the task force’s discussion of traffic congestion, traffic lights, illegal turns, etc. in this area, the City will convene a small working group of task force members to further discuss these issues.

Construction work on the underpass replacement at the East Little Creek Road/Tidewater Drive intersection will start on February 17.  More information on this significant project can be found at:  www.norfolk.gov/index.aspx?NID=282

Department of Development

The new Director of Development, Steven Anderson, was introduced.  The City’s façade improvement program is being revised.

Harris Teeter will open on February 19 and other stores in K&K Square shortly thereafter.

The BP gas station property is under contract and should go to closing soon.  The underground gasoline tanks must be removed.  A one to three bay retail building is being considered; the City has not seen a site plan.  Driveways to this property may be enlarged – City will have to approve the building and its driveways.

Community Reports

Artist Gordon Heuther of Napa, California has been selected to design the public art for Wards Corner; the contract has not been finalized.   He will come to Norfolk to meet with residents before finalizing his design.  His website can be found at: http://www.gordonhuether.com/

Talbot Hall Update – The Talbot Hall property, owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, is under contract with a group of local residents.  The new owners propose to build 14 private homes on the 6+ acre property, while maintaining the manor house on ½ acre and setting up a foundation to restore and open it to the public.  The Talbot Park Civic League has invited the new owners to speak to the civic league about their plans.

 

Meadowbrook School – The City issued requests for proposals for the redevelopment of several unused school properties around the city, which have been unveiled and a public comment period is underway.  A public meeting will be held on February 19 at 7:00 pm at the Church of the Good Shepherd to discuss the potential redevelopment of the former Meadowbrook Elementary property.  The Meadowbrook Civic League is opposed to development of apartments or condos on this site.

Next Meeting – There were requests to discuss the crime statistics for the area, the proposed school redistricting plans and how that will affect the Wards Corner area, and the public art project.


Taskforce Meeting minutes from September 12, 2013

September 18, 2013

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

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.

Community Reports

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.


Wards Corner Task Force meeting notes from March 14, 2013

March 17, 2013

As always, thanks to Karen Mayne for the notes.

The Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting

Thursday, March 14, 2013 – 8:30 a.m.

Norfolk Collegiate School Center for Fine Arts

Department of Public Works

I-564 / Air Terminal Interchange – John Keifer presented a briefing with handouts on the project, which is a joint undertaking of the City, VDOT, the Virginia Port Authority, and the Navy.  The project will take several decades and will improve vehicle access to the Naval base and International Terminals.  Three of the five components of the project are complete or underway:  relocation of the Fleet Recreation Park is complete, the Hampton Boulevard underpass will be completed in Summer 2013, and the relocation of I-564 will start in Fall 2013 and be completed in Fall 2016.  Unfunded at this time are the construction of the Air Terminal Interchange and the grade separation of the railroad line at Terminal Boulevard.  Ultimately, it is hoped that the third crossing of Hampton Roads (known as Patriots Crossing) will tie in to I-564 and extend across Craney Island to the I-664 (Monitor Merrimac tunnel) crossing area.

Suburban Acres Street Lighting Concerns – An area field review warranted the recommendation of two new street lights at 7307 Yorktown Drive and along Galveston Avenue adjacent to 401 Virginian Drive.  The design for the lights has been submitted to Dominion Power for a cost estimate.  Once received, the City will move forward with the installation – the process is expected to take about six months.

Thole Street Median – Community Resource Officer Odell Davis has told the Suburban Acres Civic League that the principal of Suburban Park Elementary School has requested that the City consider removing the median divider in front of the school to ease traffic congestion during bus loading/unloading periods.  The Civic League asked to be part of the discussion process with Public Works if this is pursued.

 

Second Patrol Crime Statistics

A total of six crimes were reported in Denby Park (Planning District 38).  There was a slight decrease in violent crimes compared to February 2012.  Robbery, aggravated assault, stolen vehicles and larceny from auto were all reported in February 2013.

Department of Development

Suburban Park Shopping Center

Demolition is completed.  The following commercial entities have executed a lease:

  • Harris Teeter
  • Towne Bank
  • Sleepy’s Mattress
  • Albano Cleaners
  • Subway
  • Starbucks

Midtown Shopping Center

Rob Heavner of Retail Advisors will serve as the broker on real estate and leasing deals.  Midtown management has completed over $1.2 million in renovations.  Additional parking lot improvements are planned for the spring.  The Department of Development will continue to work with management on tenant and rebranding efforts.

Wards Corner Shopping Center

Negotiations are underway for the retail space formally occupied by No.  1 Chinese Buffet.  Possible replacements could be another restaurant or a dollar type store.

Farm Fresh

$1 million in renovations/upgrades are near completion.  A special exception was granted to operate a drive-thru for their pharmacy.  The Wards Corner location is one of the top producing grocery stores.  Farm Fresh is selling the cold storage units.  Development will continue to work with them on a strategy.

Kroger/Workforce Development Center

There continues to be a national interest in the area.

Utilities

 

Major Projects

Three of the four major projects in Wards Corner are near completion.  The Titustown Pump Station and the Wards Corner Sanitary Sewer Replacement are scheduled to be completed in spring 2013.  The Wards Corner Wastewater Pump Station estimated time of completion is summer 2013.  The I-564 Water Main replacement will begin construction spring 2013 with an estimated completion date of spring 2014.   

 

Louisiana Drive Water Main Replacement

The anticipated completion date is mid-April.

Granby Street Median Work – The pipe replacement work in the median area of Granby Street south of Little Creek Road is being done by Virginia Natural Gas.

Community Reports

Suburban Acres Civic League announced that it will be participating in the Great American Clean-Up on Saturday morning, April 27, 2013, by cleaning up trash that is accumulating along Virginian Drive and Louisiana Drive due to the construction of the new Suburban Park Shopping Center.  The civic league invites surrounding civic leagues to join them and has also asked Suburban Asset Management, owner of the shopping center, if they will join in.

The annual National Night Out will be held in the Oakdale Farms/Denby Park neighborhood on August 6, 2013.  The theme will be “Growing a Better Community.”  The civic league is looking for volunteers who have a few hours to help with organizing the event.  Those interested in helping with the planning should contact LaCrystal Locks at 757-348-6739 or RJ Luce at 757-404-8072.

Norfolk School Board Briefing

Brad Robinson, school board member, provided an overview of some of the issues the Norfolk School Board is dealing with, all of which center on budget problems.  Dr. Robinson said that student demographics in the city are changing, with the elementary school population increasing slightly and the middle and high school populations decreasing.  At the same time, many schools in the city have exceeded their useful life and need to be replaced.  The school board is looking at closing or consolidating some schools and realizes how controversial that will be.  If the Mayor’s proposed 2 cent increase in property tax rates is approved by City Council, the City would be able to replace two additional schools, for a total of four new schools in the near term.  The school board and City are looking into a new technology high school, but it would be very expensive and there is no money for such an undertaking.  While staffing cuts are still underway, the school board would like to see more reading specialists in the elementary schools and more math teachers at the middle and high school levels.


Task Force meeting notes

February 17, 2013

Thanks to Karen Mayne for providing notes from the February Wards Corner Task Force meeting:

Department of Public Works – John Keifer

The road work at Louisiana and Granby Street should start soon and is scheduled to be completed at the same time that the Suburban Park Shopping Center opens.  There will likely be lane closures on Granby while the work is underway.  There will be two turn lanes from Louisiana onto Granby and one turn lane southbound from Granby onto Louisiana.

DPW will discuss the proposed I564 expansion project next month.

DPW looked at the school zone lights on Thole Street at Suburban Park Elementary and will move the lights on the east end to encompass Norfolk Christian upper school the next time the lights need to be replaced.  There is no indication when that might be.  Mr. Keifer said the structures are usually replaced about every 10 years.

The parking on Suburban Parkway at Norfolk Collegiate should go back to single side parking once the construction on the arts center is completed in March/April.  Marsha Lockard raised the question as to whether there would be a parking problem on Granby Park during evening events at the arts center.  John Keifer said the civic league could work with his department on this issue.

I raised the issue of additional street lights along Virginian Drive and Galveston Boulevard after the case of prostitution in that area.  John Keifer said to contact him regarding additional street lights.

Contact for John Keifer is:

Director, Department of Public Works, 757-664-4614John.keifer@norfolk.gov

Department of Development – Mike Cutter

The following businesses have signed leases for the Suburban Park Shopping Center:  Harris Teeter, Towne Bank, Albano Cleaners, Great Clips, Subway, Starbucks.

Department of Utilities – Ken Turner

The water line will be replaced along the section of Tidewater Drive between Easy Street and Thole Street.

Police Report – Odell Davis

NPD is assisting with crossing guards at Norfolk Christian upper school.  The NPD is working with Suburban Park Elementary (and all the schools in Norfolk) to assess school safety and security after the shootings at Newtown, CT.  Changes are expected in access during the opening hour of school, and vehicle access for parents on Thole Street may also change.


Wards Corner Taskforce meeting minutes from January 10, 2013

January 13, 2013

Thanks, as always, to Karen Mayne for the following minutes.

Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting – January 10, 2013

The meeting was led by Councilman Andy Protogyrou. Council representatives Terry Whibley and Barclay Winn were also present.

Suburban Park Shopping Center Presentation

Chris Perry of Suburban Asset Management (SAM) provided an overview of the status of the redevelopment of the shopping center. Site demolition is complete and they will start on infrastructure construction very soon. Due to the good weather, the project is ahead of schedule. SAM plans to turn over the concrete “pads” to Harris Teeter and Towne Point Bank in April 2013, who will then use their own contractors to construct their portions of the shopping center. SAM will use Hoy Construction to build the remainder of the shopping center, which will include space for 9 to eleven retailers. If the weather remains cooperative, SAM hopes construction will be completed in 9 to 10 months from April.

SAM would like to find a restaurant to fill in the southern-most space in the shopping center, where outside seating would be possible. They encouraged task force members to spread the word and make recommendations on the names of any restaurateurs who might be interested in locating there.

Department of Public Works Updates – John Kiefer

The City will undertake a major reconstruction of the underpass and adjacent ramps at the junction of Tidewater Drive and Little Creek Road at Southern Shopping Center. They considered changing to an at-grade intersection, but that cost would be several million dollars more that maintaining the underpass. The project is planned to start in January 2014, will take 8 to 10 months to complete, will require major road closures for about 4 to 5 months, and detours for the four on/off ramps for about 10 to 14 weeks. While the road work is under construction, the Department of Utilities will also replace underground utilities along the section of Tidewater Drive south to Thole Street. DPW is planning to make presentations to the civic leagues in the area to explain the plans and detours.

Department of Development Updates – Mike Cutter

The owner of Mid-Towne Shopping Center has hired a new real estate broker and is negotiating leases, although no names were given. There are plans to renovate the parking lot during warmer weather in the spring.

The City is considering extending the grant program for business façade improvements to the Wards Corner area. This would allow this corridor to be eligible for matching grants.

A question was asked as to whether there will be a Dollar Tree store in the Wards Corner area.  There will not be one in the new Suburban Park Shopping Center, but there is a possibility that there could be a Dollar Tree in one of the other two shopping centers on the north side.

Department of Utilities Updates – Ken Turner

Sewer replacement projects around the area are on schedule and several sections will be completed in the next several months, after which the City will continue with sewer line replacements in other sections.

Police Reports

Crime statistics for the area in December continued to show a decline from last year, which is a trend seen around the City. The president of the Denby Park civic league thanked the Norfolk Police Department for their work and said that crime numbers in Denby Park are down.

Community Reports

The group again discussed the school zones along Thole Street. The Norfolk Police have started providing traffic control assistance at the Norfolk Christian Upper School, and the City has installed larger school zone signs that are easier to read at both ends of the Norfolk Christian school zone. Councilman Protogyrou asked that the Department of Public Works provide information at the February meeting regarding the possibility of moving the overhead flashing school zone light at the western end of Suburban Park Elementary School further to the west to also encompass Norfolk Christian.


December taskforce meeting minutes

December 21, 2012

Thanks, as always, to Karen Mayne for the following minutes.

Talbot Hall Foundation – Jay Taylor

Dr. Taylor represents a group of citizens who are trying to save Talbot Hall from development.  The property consists of 6.5 acres and the house was built in the early 1800s.  The Episcopal Diocese of eastern Virginia has hired Harvey Lindsey to study the disposal of the property, but it is not up for sale as of yet.  The Foundation is looking for community support to preserve the property for some type of public use.  For more information, go to:  http://savetalbothall.org/

Department of Public Works – Alice Kelly

Undergrounding of Utilities at Wards Corner —  The group approved the design of the concrete support poles.  The DPW will put in a budget request for the 2014 budget cycle to place the utilities on the southeast corner underground.

Red Light Cameras – Wards Corner is one of several locations being considered by the City for red light cameras.  Engineering designs are underway.  When the cameras are installed, there will be a 30 day period during which traffic citations will not be issued.

Sidewalks at Suburban Park Elementary – DPW and the Norfolk School System will share responsibility for repairs of raised sections of sidewalks at the school.  Work will be done over the Christmas break.   DPW will repair the sections of sidewalk along the street; the school system will repair the sections around the perimeter of the school.

School Zone Lights – After evaluation, DPW is not recommending additional school zone lights for Norfolk Christian upper school on Thole or the lower school on Granby because the schools are some distance from the public schools they are near and school hours and holidays are different.  They believe that additional police enforcement should help, noting that speeding violations in school zones carry a $400 fine.  DPW will look at placing larger school zone signs on Thole Street at Norfolk Christian upper school and the Norfolk Police Department will work with the school on tips for parents to improve traffic control.

Wards Corner Redevelopment – Chuck Rigney gave a historical overview of the establishment of Wards Corner from the 1940s to today.  No new information was presented other than what we have heard recently through Wards Corner Now about tenants.


Notes from November’s Wards Corner Taskforce meeting

November 9, 2012

As always, thanks to Karen Mayne for the following notes from the Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting which was held on November 8, 2012 at the Fitness and Wellness Center.

The meeting was led by Councilwoman Terry Whibley. Councilman Barclay Winn was also present.

DePaul Bon Secours Presentation – Tom Privett

Mr. Privett gave a presentation on the renovations that Bon Secours has undertaken in the past two years and its future plans for its DePaul medical campus. They have invested $14 million inside the hospital on new state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities. They have implemented a fully electronic medical records program called ConnectCare. In late November they will break ground on a new medical building, which will be located at the eastern end of the current large parking lot. This building will house the outpatient and oncology departments.  Future plans call for an entirely new campus, with the new hospital to be located at the western end of the current parking lot. Eventually, two parking garages will be built. In the interim, parking will continue to be at the western end of the current lot and in a lot where the former
medical building was torn down. Bon Secours will be applying to the City for a Sign Overlay District to allow them to have directional signage as well as a large sign showing the future layout of the campus and large signs on the sides of their current buildings.

Department of Public Works – Alice Kelly

Underground Utilities at Wards Corner – Dominion Power has provided a cost estimate of $150,000 for replacing the two wooden anchor poles on the south side of Little Creek Road with larger concrete poles on the north side. A similar design anchor pole may be seen on Norview Avenue at Five Points. The total cost to complete the southeastern quadrant of the Corner is now estimated to be $310,000. The group requested to see a picture of what the large concrete anchor poles would look like before making a decision to make this project a Department of Public Works’ budget request for fiscal year 2014.

School Crossing Lights – Discussion continued on the issue of crossing lights at Norfolk Christian lower school on Granby Street and upper school on Thole Street. Ms. Kelly said that the City would expect private schools to pay for crossing lights as there are five public schools in the City for which there are insufficient funds for crossing lights. The police department will be engaged to look at better traffic management on Granby Street during bus hours. The group discussed the possibility of moving the existing crossing lights on Thole Street at Suburban Park Elementary and on Granby Street at Granby High School to locations that would encompass the two Norfolk Christian schools.

Suburban Park Elementary Bus Port – Karen Mayne relayed to the group that the Principal of Suburban Park Elementary, Mrs. Brenda Shepherd, had indicated she had not been contacted by the staff of Public Works and Parks who had worked with the school administration office on the concept design for a new bus port. Ms. Kelly said she would look into that and have someone get in touch with Mrs. Shepherd.

Department of Development – Mike Cutter

The demolition of the Suburban Park Shopping Center should be completed in the next few months. A citizen request was made to look into the issue of homeless sleeping in the buildings now that all the windows and doors have been removed. Mid Town Shopping Center renovations are almost complete and the parking lot will be upgraded, landscaped and will have new signage. Mrs. Dalis has a number of letters of intent to lease the renovated shopping center. Currently, there are no plans to lease the second story of the central part of the shopping center, but that could happen in the future. Farm Fresh is continuing the process of getting City approval for a drive-through pharmacy.

Police Report – Officer Odell Davis

Crime statistics in the area show a decline over last year. On November 12, the 3rd Patrol will implement 12 hour shifts with two officers per car on a trial basis. This has been implemented in other communities and has worked well elsewhere. The 3rd Patrol will have 10 cars on the street at a time. It will also have five community resource officers and Officer Davis will be taking the new resource officers to civic league meetings to introduce them.

Community Reports

The Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia has an I-Ride program that provides special van transportation for senior citizens and persons with disabilities in the Wards Corner area. The cost is $1.00 each way and the program has scheduled stops at the wellness center and businesses in the area as well as special request stops within two miles of the scheduled route.

The poor quality of the parking lot at the Sai Gai building was again brought up. It was suggested that the owners of the building could be encouraged to apply for an aesthetic grant from the City to improve the lot.

The cell tower at the Masonic Temple that has been disguised as a flag pole now has an American flag that is much smaller than the original flag, which looks out of proportion to the size of the tower. Ntelos is the cell tower owner and the City will look into whether there was any requirement in the City’s permit for the cell tower for a certain size flag.

At the last meeting there was a suggestion for additional benches in the design of the new playground to be built at the Fitness and Wellness Center. Since the current design meets requirements and there is no money for additional benches, it was suggested that the civic league could apply for a neighborhood grant to move excess benches from another playground to the new location.


Greater Wards Corner Taskforce Meeting Notes – October 11, 2012

October 12, 2012

As always, many thanks to Karen Mayne for keeping notes:

Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting – October 11, 2012

The meeting was led by Councilwoman Terry Whibley.  Councilman Barclay Winn was also present.

Department of Public Works

Utilities Undergrounding at Wards Corner – The City worked with Virginia Power to get cost estimates for the northeast quadrant of the Corner.  The cost to underground the utilities along Little Creek Road from Granby to the railroad tracks would be $1.5 million.  The cost to underground along Granby Street from Little Creek to the railroad tracks would be $90,000.  The group agreed that adding in the section along northeast corner of Granby Street to the work at the southeast section (which was $160,000) makes sense, so both projects will be considered at this time.  Public Works said that the anchor pole on the southeast corner could not be removed since it is needed to support the pole on the northeast corner.  They will continue to explore whether there are other options for that pole and will report back at the November meeting.

Sewer Line Projects – Work continues around the greater Wards Corner area and will involve more lane closures over the next few months, including some closures on Little Creek Road west of Wards Corner.

Granby High School — Assistant Principal Thomas Smigiel reported on issues related to truancy at the school.  Granby High is not an “open campus” and students cannot leave the school unless they have a pass.  Authorized reasons are:  the early release program for students who do not have afternoon classes; GED students who are in school until 11:30 am; and cooperative education students who leave the campus at 1:30 pm for jobs.  The school administration is working to address the truancy problem and there has been a 75 percent reduction in truancy at Granby since last school year.  Citizens are invited to a town hall meeting at Granby High on November 8 from 6:00 – 7:00 pm.

Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Community Collaboration Center — Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Linda Bryant spoke about the new Community Collaboration Center recently opened in the Norfolk Workforce Development Center.  This new concept will provide a satellite office to increase victim support, community education to adults and students about the legal system, and criminal code compliance.  The area of focus will be a one to two mile radius around the Center, which includes the Wards Corner area.

Department of Development

Suburban Park Shopping Center – Removal of asbestos has slowed down progress on demolition.  The Perry Building should be coming down soon and the rest of the structure after that.

Mid-Town Shopping Center – Construction work on the new façade should be completed by the end of October and blue awnings are being added.  New tenants should be announced in the future.  It is hoped that the parking lot will be improved.

Farm Fresh – Representatives of Farm Fresh presented drawings of their plans for a drive-through pharmacy.  It will be located where the current pharmacy is.  The company is negotiating with the property owner to repave the parking lot.  Civic league representatives brought up the need for additional lighting in the parking lot.

Other News – The Pancake House has received their ABC license.  The copy store in the same area recently closed.

Department of Recreation, Parks and Open Space – Shawn Krawetzki presented a drawing of a new playground to be built at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center on Newport Avenue.  The playground will be next to the tennis courts.  A request was made for additional benches in the design.

Police Report – Lt. Coghlan reported that crime remains low in the area – mostly larcenies and shoplifting from businesses.  He reported that the vice squad was notified after last month’s task force discussion of prostitution in the Wards Corner area, but they have not found anyone.  He said that if the public sees what they suspect to be prostitution, they should immediately call the police and inform the dispatcher that it is suspected prostitution so that the police will respond quickly.

Community Reports – Jim McDonnell reported that Royster Memorial Presbyterian Church is reopening after the arson fire in May.  Over $3 million has been spent to repair the church.  Royster will hold a hymn festival to celebrate the restoration of the pipe organ on October 30 at 7:00 pm.

New Business – The discussion of school crossing lights at Norfolk Christian Lower School on Granby Street was delayed until the November meeting.


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