April 2014 meeting info and President’s message

The April 2014 Wards Corner Civic League meeting will be held on the 21th at 6:45pm at the Fitness and Wellness Center on Newport Ave.

Invited speakers include City Council and Ward 1 Candidates and  School Redistricting and Updates.

The president’s message:


Dear Neighbors,

I, like all of you, travel through the Wards Corner business district every day, every week, month and year. We are all struck by the revitalization that is going on in that area. However, as I was riding through the business district as late as Saturday the 5th of April, I was taken aback by the differences in those revitalization efforts.  It reminded me of the opening lines of the great historical Literary Masterpiece by Charles Dickens, a Tale of Two Cities whose plot is about the differences between London and Paris prior to the French Revolution and tells the story of two men, Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton, who are similar and yet different. You remember those opening passages:


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way”


This seems to fit the business district, so here is my take on the “Tale of Two Corners “(Wards that is). I am speaking of the two corners east of Granby Street, one to the north and one to the south.


As I come through that area, I notice that the southeast corner is bustling with new businesses anchored by a brand new beautiful Harris Teeter grocery store. Banners are flying announcing the opening of a new store every few days. The area has new landscaping making it look great. A new beautifully architected Bank is almost ready to open. And yes, the parking lot is so full that cars circle around waiting for a place to park. People are walking all around the area going about their business. And yes, we have a Mermaid! Is this the best of times, the age of wisdom, the epoch of belief, the season of Light, and the spring of hope, we have everything before us and the direction to Heaven?  Well, I leave that for you to decide.


As I look to the northeast corner what do I see? I see an existing shopping center that has had a white and blue colored facelift albeit nice looking and better than before. But, I don’t see any new stores going in to that shopping center and only a very few occupied storefronts. I see a newly surfaced parking lot with new parking lines. I can see easily that because there are NO cars parked in that shopping center except for an occasional vehicle. There are no people walking about. There is a lonely large almost full dumpster in the parking lot. That’s attractive! I see a closed corner gas station which we have been informed has been sold. We are told that a box type building selling mattresses will be built there. Just what we need! Is this the worst of times, the age of foolishness, theepoch of incredulity, the season of Darkness, the winter of despair, we have nothing before us and is the direction the other way? Well, I leave that for you to decide.


Maybe my comparison of those two corners is not equal to the contrast of London and Paris or Darney and Carton in a Tale of Two Cities, but I think you can see my point. Those two shopping centers are in direct contrast to each other. Imagine what it would be like if both were vibrant!


The other two corners on the west side of Granby street seem to be doing ok with occupancy, although the strip center in the 100 block of W Little creek road has several vacancies. That’s notnecessarily a bad thing given what has vacated. It is unfortunate that we have two big box pharmacies on each of those corners, but we have to live with those now. That was just plain poor planning by the city to allow that to happen. Everyone was asleep at the wheel when that occurred. They are, however, good tenants although it would be nice if Rite Aid would keep their lights on at night since it is very dark there.


Alright, so now my rant is almost done. I hope you feel the same frustrations as I do. I am exceedingly pleased with the redevelopment of the K&K Square at Wards Corner and am glad that the other two corners are both doing well except as noted. That Center is a wonderful asset to the area. I wish that the owner of the shopping center with so many vacant storefronts would begin filling them. That is holding this entire revitalization project/effort up and continuing to put negative pressure on the business district and surrounding neighborhood. That shopping center was once a very vibrant center with many quality stores. It could be that way again if it were filled. I encourage all of you to be vocal about that vacant shopping center. It needs to be filled with stores. Also be vocal about another box store at that corner with a mattress store. That is not a good use of that property! How absurd.

Finally we received some nice press on March 9th, 2014 when Patrick Wilson, a Virginian Pilot reporter said in a news article about civic leagues fighting development that “The Wards Corner Civic League, growing in political power, has voted to support nearby Meadowbrook, which gives the Meadow-brook folks a boost. Olde Huntersville, while similar in size to Meadowbrook, is predominantly black. The neighbors don’t have nearly the political power ofa Meadowbrook or Wards Corner.” It has taken us many years to get to this level of political clout. Let’s keep it and keep using it to our benefit. Great things can come of it.


I hope to see you at the next civic league meeting on April 21st at 645PM.