Reminder: Wards Corner Task Force meeting 1/8/15

January 6, 2015

The Wards Corner Task Force meeting is this Thursday, 1/8/15 at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.  Agenda below:

1. Police Reports – 2nd and 3rd Patrol Updates

2. Parking along the grass W. Little Creek Road – Leonard Newcomb, Director, Zoning

3. Development Updates – Mike Cutter, Business Development Specialist

4. Riverfront Infrastructure Plan Update – Richard Broad, Assistant Director, Public Works

5. Reports

  • Utilities
  • Community Updates
  • Wards Corner Business Association Update

6. New Business

The next task force meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 12, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center


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 meeting minutes – April 2014

April 13, 2014

Thanks to Karen Mayne for the following meeting minutes from the April 10, 2014 meeting:

The Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting

April 10, 2014

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

Police Reports

Future police reports will include the entire area of the Greater Wards Corner Task Force so that neighborhoods will know what is happening throughout the area.

Public Art

Karen Rudd, Manger of Norfolk’s Cultural Affairs, provided an overview of the artist who was selected to design the public art for Wards Corner.  Gordon Huether of Napa, California, will come to Norfolk in several weeks to look at the area and meet with the public arts selection committee and the developers of K&K Square and Midtown Shopping Center.  The City has allocated $150,000 for the project, which should take about a year to complete.  The City’s public art program is funded through donations and from a set-aside of 1 percent of all Capital Improvement Projects over $500,000.  Norfolk leads the way in the region in its support of public art projects.

Public Works

Karen Mayne reported on a meeting between the Norfolk Right-of-Way/Transportation staff and task force representatives.  The group discussed traffic congestion and signaling around the intersection of Little Creek and Granby Street.  Traffic engineers will wait to see how traffic moves through the intersection at the new K&K Square before deciding whether to turn the right northbound lane on Granby Street at Little Creek Road into a right turn only lane.  There is concern that doing so could create a hazard to pedestrians.  The new traffic light that will be installed on Little Creek Road between the K&K Square and Midtown Shopping Center should help with traffic in that area.  It was requested that the City consider reestablishing the audio-visual crossing signal for pedestrians at that light, but the FHWA has new rules that may make such a signal cost prohibitive.  The issue of illegal left turns coming out of Virginian Drive onto Little Creek Road has no structural solution due to the narrowness of the road; enforcement is the best solution.  The City will be repairing/replacing the faux-brick crosswalks with a new and stronger material.

Department of Development

Sam’s Club will rebuild at the old K-Mart property after demolishing the building.  Wal-Mart is proposing a gas station as part of this project.

The Albano’s Cleaners in Titustown on Little Creek Road is closing.  The company is restructuring its business.  A new Albano’s will be at K&K Square.

The demolition of the Denby Park properties acquired by the City last year was delayed by the winter weather and should be completed in May.

Community Reports

The rezoning of the Talbot Hall property to allow for the construction of 14 private homes and roads will go before the planning commission on April 24.

Dr. Barbara Laws of Norfolk Public Schools has been named the 2014 National Supervision/Administrator Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association.  The award recognizes exemplary contributions, service, and achievements of art educators.  (Dr. Laws also serves on the committee that selected Gordon Huether for the public art at Wards Corner.)  Congratulations, Barbara!!


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.

 


May Wards Corner Task Force meeting notes

May 12, 2013

Thanks as always to Karen Mayne for taking notes:

The Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting

May 9, 2013

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

 Second Patrol Crime Statistics – A total of 13 crimes were reported in Wards Corner (Planning District 25).  An arrest was made in conjunction with a crime reported in March.  All 13 crimes reported were larcenies.

Utilities – Ken Turner

 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.   

 Department of Development – Mike Cutter and Chuck Rigney

 Suburban Park Shopping Center — Site prep is underway. The issue of setback of the sidewalk along the Little Creek Road section of the project was discussed.  The City will be talking with Suburban Asset Management about an easement along this area so there will be a wider distance between pedestrians and traffic.

Midtown Shopping Center — $1.2 million dollars in renovations are complete.  Additional parking lot improvements are planned.  Lease negotiations are underway.

Wards Corner Shopping Center — Negotiations are underway regarding the #1 Chinese Buffet.  Dollar Tree is a potential tenant but there are no definitive plans.

Farm Fresh — Over a million dollars in upgrades and renovations, including a drive-thru for the Pharmacy was completed.  City is in discussion with the property owner about demolishing the former cold storage building for redevelopment.

K-Mart – K-Mart will be closing in July.  The City has no word yet on future tenant at this site.

Community Reports

Suburban Acres Civic League will discuss the issue of double-sided parking at the west end of Suburban Parkway in the area of Norfolk Collegiate Upper School and Suburban and Granby Houses at its May 13 meeting.  Traffic congestion in this area makes parking on both sides a safety issue.  The civic league will advise Public Works, Traffic Division of its concerns.

Other Business

The issue of the proposed four cent per hundred increase in the City’s real estate property tax was discussed.  City Council representatives encouraged residents to come to the City’s public meeting on this issue on May 13, at 6:00 pm at Granby High School.  For residents who cannot attend the meeting, the council members invited citizen comments via an e-mail or a telephone call.


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.


Protogyrou hits the ground running

July 18, 2010
Councilman Andy Protogyrou

Councilman Andy Protogyrou

Councilman Andy Protogyrou heavily campaigned on the promise that he would work to revitalize Wards Corner and he has wasted no time pushing the issue.

At the July 13, 2010 City Council meeting, Mr. Protogyrou made an oral and written request to the City Manager that there be a meeting scheduled with Mr. Protogyrou and a representative of NRHA, Economic Development, City Planning, and the City Attorney’s office.

The text of the request:

The Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan (2004) is approximately 6 years old.  In that time, changes have resulted in demographics, the economy overall, and city finances in particular.

However, I believe opportunity still exists for major change in the plan area.

As we have a Wards Corner Task Force where stakeholders meet on a regular basis, I request a meeting of City Hall stakeholders as an educational tool for myself.

Therefore, I kindly request a meeting with NRHA, Economic Development, City Planning and perhaps the City Attorney’s Office to brief me and examine our past, present, and future in Wards Corner.

I would like to meet in the CIty Council Conference Room, and questions will be particularized for each department by me before they arrive to afford adequate time to prepare.

Mr. Protogyrou wants his constituents to know that if you need him, he can be contacted at andy.protogyrou@norfolk.gov or 633-6607.

The written request can be found here.


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