May 2015 message and meeting info

The May 2015 Wards Corner Civic League meeting will be held on the 18th at 6:30pm at the Fitness and Wellness Center on Newport Ave.

The agenda includes an invitation to the Norfolk Sheriff’s office.

The president’s message:

Dear Neighbors,
The signs of spring are all around us. The grass is growing and flowers are blooming. Our neighborhood really looks great when all the lawns are cut and the flowers and plants are blooming. We should all be proud. Hopefully the cold is gone and we can get outside to enjoy all the spring activities. Summer is right around the corner, school will be out and we will all be vacationing or hopefully taking a break from work.

New business activity is continuing in the Business District. The Mattress Firm building is now up and once the inside is finished look for that store to be opening soon.

The Wards Corner Public Art was installed on April 30!
Here is the City of Norfolk Press Release:
Gordon Huether Studio, led by artist and founder Gordon Huether, was selected to design and fabricate a public art installation for the Wards Corner neighborhood. The sculpture, Wards Corner Gateway, will be installed on the median on Granby St., near North Shore Rd. on April 30, 2015.

The City of Norfolk’s Public Art Program worked with Gordon Huether Studios to develop a concept that embraces local identity, fosters a strong sense of place and creates a significant gateway for the City of Norfolk. The installation enables all viewers, whether local or visiting, an opportunity to pause and reflect about the continued positive and exciting changes taking place in the neighborhood.

The Wards Corner Gateway installation is made up of two components: a bird-like structure inspired by the famed intersection where Alfred C. Ward once operated his iconic general store, and a polished aluminum base. The large wing-like component features a black and white aerial photograph of the Wards Corner intersection and was taken by a staff member of the Virginian Pilot in 1956. This part of the installation is made of translucent polycarbonate material. The wing-like component is then mounted atop an eleven-foot tall aluminum base, which causes the ‘Wing’ to point toward the sky. Wards Corner Gateway will be illuminated at night, featuring programmable color-changing lighting.

The installation and its upward orientation reference this neighborhood’s future: its continued upward growth and development in cultural, economic and community matters.

Also on that WardsCornerNow website is this information about a new restaurant opening soon. The franchise owner, Jeff Rhoades, presented to the Wards Corner Civic League in March on his new-to-the-region pizza restaurant, Your Pie. Your Pie was founded in Athens, Georgia and currently has locations in Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. Jeff has plans to open six Your Pie franchises in the Hampton Roads region and Wards Corner will be his first location as well as the first location in the state.

Jeff indicated he chose Wards Corner based on the success of places like Harris Teeter and Moe’s and hopes to soon finalize his lease agreement for leasing the southernmost end unit that abuts Louisiana Drive.

The leased space allows for a planned 65 seats inside, 7 of which are at the bar, plus outdoor eating. Expected hours of operation are likely to be from 10am to 9pm daily.
The restaurant will offer pizza, salad, a gelato station, 7 beer taps, about 40 bottle beers, and wine. Your Pie plans to open around the beginning of July. Read more about the restaurant on the website.

The Wards Corner Civic League voted at our meeting on March 16 to support Your Pie’s special exception to serve beer and wine on premises. The Planning Commission will vote on the special exception in May and City Council will likely vote in June.

This is all good news as it represents a continuing interest in businesses that want to open stores in the Wards Corner Business District. This is a complete turnaround from 15 years ago when businesses were leaving or had already left.

Let’s keep up the good work and praise the new businesses that are opening in our area. Being positive goes further than posting negative comments about these establishments and what they bring as some have done from other civic leagues. Thanks to our membership for being positive.

Finally a special thanks to Ray Duron and his cleanup crew for their hard work cleaning up our adopt- a- spot as part of the Great American Cleanup. Thanks goes to Ray and all his volunteers for the work they do. The area looks great.

I hope to see you at our next meeting on May 18th, 2015 at the Wellness Center.