I hope this email finds you healthy and well. It has been a great October with much progress taking place in Ward 2 and around Norfolk.
In the 2020 Norfolk budget, money was set aside for Emerging Districts, which allows Norfolk to provide enhancements to newly growing and thriving areas. Two neighborhoods/business corridors receiving funding include Lambert’s Point and North Colley/Highland Park. Lambert’s Point will see new and improved medians and crosswalks along 38th Street between Bowdens Ferry Road and Parker Avenue. ADA ramps will be replaced at some street corners; pedestrian crossings will have new striping; and new trees and mulch will be placed in the medians. As this corridor becomes even more vibrant with the new Railyard at Lambert’s Point project soon to be developed, the beautification and added safety measures will further enhance the Lambert’s Point neighborhood. Aside from the Emerging District money for the medians, Lambert’s Point recently saw the placement of a new pedestrian countdown crosswalk signaling system at 27th and Hampton Blvd. Additionally, the standing water issue at 37/38th and Parker was resolved.
North Colley and Highland Park will see improvements between 38th Street and 52nd Street. North Colley is booming with locally owned restaurants, breweries, a yoga studio, and new residential developments. These new businesses in the corridor complement the already very successful art studios, busy kayak launch, restaurants and more. Given the increased activity in the area, the North Colley Business Association and the Highland Park Civic League came together to work with the city on enhancements. The area will see street pole lighting replaced with LED lights (increases wattage and illumination); improved crosswalks; parking safety measures; bump outs with low lying landscaping that will have vertical posts with yellow flashing beacons alerting drivers to pedestrians crossing the street; and improved intersection alignment.
These projects were approved by the neighborhoods and will be completed by June 2020. The enhancements demonstrate Norfolk’s commitment to neighborhoods and small business.
As a follow up to Norfolk City Council’s vote to move forward with the Option to Purchase Agreement and the Intergovernmental Agreement between Norfolk and the Pamunkey Tribe to develop the new hotel/spa/resort/casino project we took further action. Council voted to allocate the first round of revenue from the project to go towards capital maintenance needs at Maury High School and Booker T. Washington High School. These two schools, along with the majority of the other school buildings, require more than $1.3B in capital funding based on their current condition. The potential of the new revenue stream coming from this economic development project will be instrumental in funding schools and the needs we face with flooding and sea-level rise.
There were lots of activities in October. I had the pleasure of judging the costumes in the Masquerade of Ghent Halloween Parade. Wow! Folks are incredibly creative! I ran in the “From Here to Eternity Twilight 5K” in the Elmwood and Westpoint cemeteries. Our cemeteries are beautiful!!! Along with many others in Norfolk, I mapped the high tide on Sunday, October 27 – the highest tide day of the year. I never thought “mapping” or being a “mapper” would be such common vernacular in our community. The Neon Festival in the Neons Art District was a great success.
I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. Jack and I will host the Doyle family (mostly from New England) with about 22 joining us for the holiday.