Taskforce moving to bimonthly meetings per City Council

October 10, 2013

City Council has decided that Task Force meetings across the city will move to either quarterly or a every-other-month schedule.  The Wards Corner Task Force will move to every-other-month with the next meeting to be held on December 12, 2013.  Other notes from today’s Task Force meeting are below.  Thanks as always to Karen Mayne for providing the notes. 

 

Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting – October 10, 2013

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

 Talbot Hall Update

 The non-profit Talbot Hall Foundation conducted a survey and determined that it is unlikely the Foundation can raise $4.25 million dollars to purchase the Talbot Hall property from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia.  The Foundation is working with the Diocese and Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate to achieve residential development on part of the property while still preserving the historical and environmental values of the manor house and property.

 Police Report

 The Police Department has given out tickets for parking on the grass along the 100 to 600 blocks of West Little Creek Road.  The police have also asked the City’s codes compliance office to look into whether property owners have permits for the driveways.

 Department of Development Updates

 BP Gas Station Update – Nothing new to report.  The property is currently under contract and the developer is seeking an end user (not a gas station) for a 4000 square foot retail center.

 Wards Corner Shopping Center – The parking lot lights are manually turned off around 9 p.m.  Dollar Tree remains open until 10 p.m.  The lack of lighting is creating a safety concern for customers and employees.  Property owners will place the lights at the Wards Corner Shopping Center on an automatic timer.  Canopy lights were replaced.

 It was requested that the City prune the crepe myrtle trees along the section of Virginian Avenue between Louisiana and Little Creek.  Now that the new sidewalks in this area are complete, limbing up the overgrown trees will allow safe passage of pedestrians and the disabled.

 Denby Park Demolition

 The City acquired 308, 317, 319, 321 and 325 East Little Creek Road; 328, 334 and 338 Fort Worth in support of the Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan.  Demolition is scheduled to begin on October 21st with a timeline of 30-60 days.

 Public Art Update – The Request for Proposals for the $150,000 public art for Wards Corner is out.  Proposals are due byOctober 31.

 Schools

 Norfolk Christian – City Council has approved the closure of the portion of Seekel Street surrounded by Norfolk Christian Upper School.

 Norfolk Collegiate – The issue of parking on both sides of Suburban Parkway in the vicinity of the school was discussed.  Officer Odell Davis said he is recommending the removal of about five parking spaces at the western end of Suburban Parkway on both sides of the street in order to improve turn radiuses for buses and improve safety of pedestrians and vehicles.

 Other

 The issue of replacing the hanging traffic lights at East Little Creek Road in front of the Taco Bell with mast arm poles was discussed.  There are only two hanging traffic lights along Little Creek Road between Hampton Boulevard and Shore Drive, this light being one of them.  The Task Force has discussed this for at least six years as part of the beautification of the Wards Corner area.  A request was made that this be considered for future capital improvement funds.  No resolution on the matter since funding would be expensive and take away from the funds being used to acquire the blighted properties in Denby Park.  It was pointed out that a mast arm was not installed at this light due to long-term plans for redevelopment of the surrounding area.

 Another concern is the utility poles that have been on the ground in the area of Tucker House at Armfield and W. Little Creek. 

 New Business

 City Council has decided that the various community task force meetings around the City should happen either bi-monthly or quarterly in order to alleviate workload on City staff.  Interim communications between the face to face meetings would continue among the representatives on these task forces via e-mail.  The representatives of the Greater Wards Corner Task Force indicated they would like to meet bi-monthly.  The next meeting will be December 12, 2013.

 


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.


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