Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League
Meet Norfolk's City Forester Mr. David Sivyer
NEXT BOARD MEETING will be May 21, 2001, at 7:00 pm, 710 Georgia Avenue.
DEADLINE for the June issue is Tuesday, May 29, 2001.
THIS MONTH'S MEETING AGENDA:   Mr. David Sivyer will describe his award-winning forestry program - Monthly reports - Discussion and vote on bulkhead greenway enhancements
Civic league members have expressed some concern relating to the future of trees in the Colonial Place/Riverview area. Questions have arisen as to how, why, when, and where are they planted? Does the City have an overall comprehensive program when it comes to placement and care of our neighborhood trees? At the May meeting we will meet Norfolk's City Forester, Mr. David Sivyer. He will discuss our concerns and describe his award-winning city-wide forestry program. We will also find out how we, as individuals, can provide input and assist the City with this program.
As a result of our recent civic league meeting and the subsequent public hearing, many of us have had the opportunity to see a bigger picture of Norfolk Public Schools. They are in need of our help.
I have proposed that we sponsor a Colonial Place/Riverview Speakers Bureau which will provide a list of volunteers and their respective disciplines to the School Administration. This list can then be offered to all middle school teachers, who may call upon us as guest lecturers to offer their students a "real world" perspective to enhance their lessons.
Thus far, I have a total of nine people who are willing to give at least an hour a month to the middle schools to offer their expertise. Kathleen Kridler, a web designer, can provide students with invaluable design tips for designing their own web page. Dave McDonald can provide real information on mediation and conflict resolution. Michael Fitzgibbon can teach teamwork and personal development. Sheila Janes can teach reading. I, a writer by trade, can offer business letter writing expertise. And the list goes on.
Let's show the School Board, and the community-at-large that we care about more than just Blair. We care for our city and our city's children. Please call me, Doug Pilley, at 623-5316, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me what your particular specialty is, and let's see how it can fit in a classroom. Together, we can make Norfolk better.
At the May Civic League meeting we will discuss and vote on our desires for improvements to the greenway between Mayflower Road and the bulkhead. The Bulkhead Greenway Committee met in February to consider residents' suggestions and develop a proposal to submit to the Civic League membership at the May meeting. Discussion was animated, mostly surrounding the placement of benches, trash cans, and trees along the greenway. Several residents were opposed to benches and trash cans, saying both were previously along the bulkhead and were removed based on unpleasant experiences. While everybody liked trees, some did not want them along the bulkhead because they obstruct the view. The proposal: a quality 4-to-7-foot-wide walkway made of paving stones, low shrubbery/plantings (if they require minimal maintenance and are resistant to brackish water), and a limited number of trees. The walkway should not be placed right along the bulkhead out of concern for the safety of walkers. (See also the following articles, Bulkhead Greenway Survey Results and Bulkhead Replacement Update.)
In my seven years of attending Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League meetings, I have attempted to see all sides of an issue before casting my vote. This has sometimes been difficult since League meetings are often attended by a relative few who sometimes have a particularly vested interest in the issue at hand. Sometimes I leave wondering if the way an issue has been decided reflects the desires of the neighborhood.
Such has been the case with the discourse occurring over landscape options along the Bulkhead Greenway. The League leadership has been diligent in offering forums for discussion on this matter. However, they have been largely attended by the same passionate few who have a particular perspective. Feeling I needed more information and being an opinion research professional, I decided to conduct a randomly sampled scientific survey with residents of the Colonial Place neighborhood.
Survey respondents were contacted by phone and asked a series of questions about their desires for having benches, trash cans, and trees along the bulkhead. They were then offered popular arguments against each to see if their opinions changed. For the purposes of analyzing the results, residents were divided into those living along the bulkhead waterfront and those living in the interior sections of the neighborhood.
Even though an overwhelming number of residents overall (86.5%) prefer to have park benches along the waterfront, 60% of the bulkhead residents are opposed to them. Furthermore, those opposing benches are more adamant in their opinion while those in favor tend to have an attitude of, "benches would be nice." These findings might lead one to conclude that benches might be an unreasonable proposal at this time. However, bulkhead residents who oppose benches are apparently going to have to continue to defend their position with such large overall numbers in favor of seeing benches along this very public area.
The situation with trash cans is less clear. Bulkhead residents are almost evenly split over whether they wish to see trash receptacles along the waterfront or not, while interior residents mostly favor them (76%). Many who favored trash receptacles qualified their answer with the condition that the City routinely empty them.
Opposition to trees along the bulkhead is small with 73% of bulkhead residents and 90% of interior residents favoring trees. A large majority (71.4%) of those favoring trees said they wanted to see them along the entire length of the bulkhead, which is contrary to the findings of the Bulkhead Greenway Committee. Many also noted that they would like to see them in nice landscape groupings with benches, shrubs, or trash receptacles. The arguments presented against benches, trash receptacles, and trees had relatively little impact on the opinions of residents.
I encourage all residents who feel that the Bulkhead Greenway is an important neighborhood amenity to come and hear more of these survey results and register your feelings when we vote on this matter at the May league meeting.
Riverview Village is now home to a trendy new Subway sandwich shop. Located at the corner of Granby Street and East 42nd Street, the custom-designed awnings in the franchise colors of yellow and black help to brighten the east side of the street. The landlord also invested in additional landscaping to bring a finished look to the location.
Subway offers its traditional sandwich fare along with kids' meals and the newly famous "less than 7 grams of fat" Jared diet. This Subway location is oversized with plenty of seating in a squeaky-clean interior. This new Riverview Village eatery is attracting young and not so young alike. Be sure to stop in for a very reasonably priced lunch or dinner.
Exciting things are also happening at the south end of Riverview Village. The Charmarie Sims Gallery for Children is scheduled to open on May 15, at 3900 Granby Street - just two doors from the Riverview Theater. The Gallery will feature original artwork for children, hand-carved and hand-painted furniture for children's rooms (rocking horses, toy boxes) and brass cribs from Levin's of Virginia. Apparel for children will include items from Lowenthals and designer hand-smocked dresses and christening gowns.
100% of net proceeds from all sales from the Gallery will go directly into medical programs for children. The Charmarie Sims Foundation is named in memory of the daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Kenneth Sims, who died from a curable but frequently misdiagnosed heart condition (myocarditis). It is the goal of the Charmarie Sims Foundation to direct the proceeds from the Gallery's sale of one-of-a-kind keepsake items to programs that may help children to live strong and healthy lives.
Although the Gallery will open for business on May 15, a Grand Opening will be held in the summer featuring celebrity guest appearances, games, and refreshments. Exciting special events for children are planned for later in the year. Please stop by the Gallery to browse and welcome the Charmarie Sims Foundation to our business corridor.
It is uplifting to see new businesses open in our area. It is also gratifying to see our old friends sprucing up their properties. Many thanks to the businesses and landlords of Riverview Village who weed and replant the flowerbeds. A red-and-white flower theme seems to have sprung along the corridor this spring. It is through the everyday efforts of each business - whether it is a business selling tires, fast food, or household furnishings - that our collective pride in Riverview Village is most evident. Each stakeholder that strives to make his/her business better results in a model business corridor that complements our surrounding neighborhoods.
So please show your support for the good things that are happening in Riverview Village by always shopping the neighborhood first.
Girls who will be entering 4th, 5th, or 6th grade for the 2001-2002 school year are invited to join our troop. Currently, we have girls who attend Granby, Taylor, Norfolk Collegiate, and Willard. We meet twice a month at Knox Presbyterian Church from 3 pm until 5 pm. If you register by June, you will receive an "Early Bird Patch." The registration fee is $7.00. We welcome adult assistance if you'd like to volunteer for a good cause. Ms. Audrey Webb is coming to our meeting this month to discuss a proposal for our troop to adopt a block/street in our neighborhood! If you and/or your daughter are interested, please call me, Diane Gibson, at 627-8910.
Have you ever misspelled a word that slipped by both you and your spell checker? And then you print it using a big bold font? And then a Channel 13 camera person photographs it for the news? ...I hate it when that happens!
In a last minute rush to change the front page of the April newsletter to accommodate the developing Blair issue, there was no opportunity to pass that page by our proofreaders before delivery to the printer. Consequently, the newsletter went to press with "Loosing" in the headline instead of "Losing." (Jeanne Ullian corrected the online version. Thanks, Jeanne.)
Proofreading is one of those behind-the-scenes tasks that no one thinks much about unless it's omitted and a glaring error is presented for all to see. Arthur and Mrs. MacConochie have volunteered their time to proofread Community News for many years now. And although their names never appear in the credits, they are hugely appreciated for their contribution to the quality of the newsletter. As you can see, the newsletter suffers greatly without them.
This is a very loosely organized group for people of all ages who want to share/practice/learn the circus arts. We're looking for stilt walkers (beginners bring wrist & knee guards), jugglers (bring your juggling toys), clowns, mimes, street performers and any other entertainers. Join us at the driveway between 516 & 520 Connecticut Ave, Friday afternoons at 4 pm. Questions? Call me, Sandi Caldwell, at 622-4755.
The City plans to obtain bids this spring to replace the next section of the bulkhead adjacent to the recently completed section. Construction is scheduled to start in July and be completed by the end of December. The city is working to resolve the leaching soil that is causing the sinkholes behind the bulkhead seams along the recently completed section (Phase 1A of the bulkhead renovation) and ensure that similar problems do not recur in future construction. The City-provided schedule calls for expenditures annually through Fiscal Year 2007 to complete bulkhead replacement along Knitting Mill Creek. The Civic League leadership is working with the City to ensure funding to keep the bulkhead replacement on schedule.
(Courtesy of Jenny Smolen)
The Colonial Place and Riverview neighborhoods were established in Norfolk over 100 years ago, and almost forty years ago their respective civic leagues combined as one. In November, a survey was conducted through the newsletter to assess neighbors' inputs and priorities to find out what they wanted the League to do for them and what the League should be working toward in the near future. The survey would also attempt to address League membership and the low attendance at the monthly meetings. The group has a current roster of approximately 250 members; however, only about half come regularly to the meetings.
One purpose of the survey was to determine the problems citizens face in their neighborhoods. Residents were asked to rate the areas on a five-point scale and identify specific problems.
TRAFFIC: Over 28 comments related to traffic concerns, half of which involved speeding. Many people are in favor of speed limit signs on all cross streets and three people offered speed bumps as a solution. Specific streets with problems listed were:
CARS: 45% of Riverview residents consider cars to be a large problem. Speeding seemed to be highest on both lists, with parking as the second highest concern. Both neighborhoods identified theft as a problem, with just a slightly higher percent of responses made by Riverview residents.
STREET MAINTENANCE: Potholes were of highest concern in Colonial Place, while potholes, signage, and lighting all tied for attention in Riverview. Comments referenced the flooding on Mayflower and streetlights being out on New Hampshire for three months.
NOISE: Noise was of moderate concern to both neighborhoods. 32% of Colonial Place and 28% of Riverview residents found noise to be a "minor problem," while 16% and 13%, respectively, found it to be a large problem. Riverview found car stereos to be the biggest contributor to noise, while Colonial Place targeted both car stereos and animals.
CLEANLINESS & AESTHETICS: A few specific streets were listed as having problems, but it should be noted that this area was one of the few that had positive comments included as well. For instance, it was noted that the 500 Block of Virginia Avenue was well kept. Specific areas of concern: junky houses in poor repair; empty houses in need of attention; the trash on Columbus Street and the litter on 38th Street and Colonial Avenue to Hampton Blvd. Large trash pick-ups were listed, as were dead tree limbs and getting the city to help trim them.
SAFETY & SECURITY: Safety concerns included folks parking their cars blocking the sidewalks, poor street lighting, and sidewalks in poor condition. Specific comments included car vandalizing, bicycle, porch furnishings, and plant theft, and the security concerns around the tennis courts and bleachers late at night.
SECURITY: Responses in this area were fairly scattered: 37% of Colonial Place respondents felt security was a minor problem, and 24% of Riverview residents considered it a large problem. Specific comments addressed a fear of drug use among minors; the sale of alcohol and cigarettes for minors; and teenagers smoking in empty lots.
OUTREACH: Most respondents did not have a concern with this area. Many neighbors are happy in their neighborhood, stating it is the friendliest place they've ever lived. One respondent would like to see a "Community Bulletin Board" that's centrally located, perhaps outside, so when people walk they can check the status. Some folks were interested in a neighborhood block party, and many were pleased with the newsletter as a means to spread the news.
The Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League
P.O. Box 6347
Norfolk, VA 23508
(757) 640-5555 extension 20943
WEB PAGE: dcf.net/cprv
Community News Editor:   Wayne Johnson, Phone 623-1078
Community News Distribution:   Margaret Bright, Phone 627-2815
Advertising:   Jeff Stark, Phone 640-8938
Please deliver typewritten newsletter items to:
637 New Jersey Ave
Norfolk, VA 23508