President’s Message

Dear Neighbors,

I don’t know if you are as fired up and frustrated as I am about what I see happening in the Greater Wards Corner area lately, but I believe you should be. This area needs attention immediately before things get worse. Summer is almost here and given the rash of criminal activity in the area recently, I am very concerned that this will only get worse as the summertime progresses.

At the May civic league meeting Councilmen Barclay Winn and Don Williams will be present to speak to us. This is the first time in many months that they will be joining us. I have asked them to update us on Wards Corner and where they see the revitalization efforts going in the short and long term. I have also asked Don Williams to brief us on SPSA and our trash collection policy for Norfolk. Many of us have been at this revitalization effort for over 10 years now and while there have been some improvements over those many years, those efforts seem to have slowed or even stopped. Quite frankly, I am getting fed up with up with this inaction and especially with our city leaders who represent us. We have a comprehensive plan, studies have been done and recommendations have been made for the Greater Wards Corner area improvement. It seems now that the city is not following that plan and consequently we are beyond the point where we should be questioning this action and why things are not improving. The recent rash of murders, shootings and home invasions in the Wards Corner area or near us is indicative that we are going nowhere with improving the area and perhaps even moving backward. The overall crime rate has been increasing with most of that due to robbery and burglary in the area. Please understand this is not a criticism of the police as they can only do so much given the resources they are allotted for our area. But that is the point, we need to shout loud and clear that more of the city’s resources should be allocated for the Wards Corner area. Every day and or night when I drive by the property in the northeast corner of the business district (you know which one I am referring to) I get more and more disgusted seeing all of the empty parking lot spaces and vacant store fronts. Last week when I drove by Nutty Buddies I saw several transvestites plying their trade walking up and down the sidewalk in front of that unwelcome establishment. This entire area is beginning to look like the other declining areas of the city of a few years ago before they received assistance from the city. Of course, those areas are Ocean View, Broad Creek and Downtown. Our area is beginning to look like a ghost town. This is beyond ridiculous and totally unacceptable. We need things to start improving immediately.

I don’t like to be negative when I write these articles and I try not to be. However, my intention is to try to fire you up to speak out about what is not happening in our area. We have been patient, cordial and accepting of the assistance we have gotten from the city and support we have received from our elected city leaders over the past years. But for whatever reason we are not moving forward now or if we are it is not fast enough.

I would ask all of you to attend our next civic league meeting on May 18th at 6:45PM at the Wellness Center and challenge our councilmen with your questions as to what they are doing for our area. We should be civil but tough. They need to hear from us that we are fed up with the lack of progress in the area. Also, please get involved with our efforts, as we need many voices to get the improved outcomes we desire.

Thank you for letting me vent my frustrations and I hope to see you at our next meeting.
Jim English

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