May 17, 2010 Meeting Minutes
Blair Middle School
Attendance – Joan McEnery, Henry Conde, Paige Rose, Ted Warren, Irene Blake, Jon Hanbury, Harry Worley, & Barbara Murphy
Not in attendance – Mike Spencer, Suzanne Williams, Brian D Smith,
7pm call to order
Intro of board and guests
Crime Report-Officer Gauthier – An arrest was made in the ATM robberies which were performed by the same person. Nothing on the Starbucks shooting. 11 larcenies including yard items (mulch & plants), purses, license plates, inspection & tag stickers, parts from auto. Be leery of landscaping crews – reports of harassing residents for payment by people who are NOT working for a known company.
Discussion Topics & Presentations
- The Williams School – COA – Proposing to replace asphalt roof with same, flat roof with membrane, repair 70+ windows in-kind as necessary, replace rear vinyl window with wood, replace wood rails with pre-pained wood, repoint mortar with correct colors – test patch will be done. Motion to write a letter in support of COA proposal – 100% approval. - The Williams School may in future request putting cobble stone in grass area between sidewalk and street in area that grass will not grow due to foot traffic. There were no objections to this request from the Board or Members in attendance.
Proposed Regional Crisis Center on Redgate Ave
Currently zoned as for use as a day care center for children – requires city council approval to change in zoning.
NCSB Executive Director Maureen Womack – Maureen Womack explained to those present at the meeting about the services provided by the CSB and what plans they have for the 800 block Redgate Ave location. Currently the building is empty. It is now closed, but it was built and operated as day care center by Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters. Womack reported that the proposed Crisis Center would be 11 beds. The CSB currently has this center in the Roland Park neighborhood with 10 beds (note: 9 in 2009 annual report, one added since). Womack told us that the facility is used by people who are “depressed” “unstable” and “a small percentage of homeless”. The purpose of moving the proposed center to the Redgate Ave locations is to cut down on the “emergency transportation” the client must receive from the hospital to the current center. Another added benefit would be that the clients would be easier evaluated at the emergency rooms and moved to this proposed center and the convenience of the location for the Sentara physicians. Sentara Norfolk General is the only Norfolk medical facility that has a separate in-patient psychiatric unit.
The following are representative list of questions asked and concerns given but not represented as being all inclusive:
- Womack stated that the current center is in the Roland Park neighborhood. A member reported that they went to the facility and found it actually located in a commercial district, more than a mile from Roland Park and not across from homes as this center would if on Redgate. The member then commented on the current facility front door having a sign stating ”No Weapons and No Guns” on the front door, security cameras around the building, what appeared to be homeless leaving the center and several hanging at the back door (only to have the security have to shoo them away). Womack stated that this building also provides other services such as a “methadone clinic”. The member then asked if there are plans to expand their services at the Redgate location in the future since she has a very good reputation of expanding services in her last city of employment. Womack said ”they would not be adding additional services to this center” When asked if she would put into writing Womack said “no” she “could not”.
- Residents’ inquired about the number of homeless who use the facility. Womack reported that very few, less then 10%, were homeless. Womack was asked if this statistic was correct when the 2009 State of Virginia report shows that the percentage was 30%. Mrs Womack said that Norfolk “do not service as much as all the other facilities” and could not elaborate on why such a big difference of servicing the homeless.
- When asked what happens to the clients once they leave the center, Womack reported that “they go home”. When asked how they get home, Womack reported that “family members come for them.” Womack did not elaborate about what happens to the “10% homeless” she reported they service, since they have no home to return too, just that “they are not sent out onto the streets”. When asked if the clients will be guaranteed to go back to their originating neighborhood Womack did report that sometimes they move into other centers or out into the community or that “the family does come for them.” When asked if they guarantee they all clients would be returned to their homes, Womack did not respond, only to elaborate that the “clients are picked up by family members/loved ones”.
- When asked how many people the center will receive, Womack reported that currently they have 10 beds that are used at a time. (note: 2009 annual report showed 9, 1 added after report) When asked the data on the amount Womack did not know the exact amount. A attendee was able to provide this data which stated the figure was 540 people for they year 2009 with 9 beds. Womack stated that she did not know where that figure of 540 came from.
- When asked how many are Norfolk residents, Mrs. Womack responded that she did not know exactly but thought it was about 70%. When asked if that data could be verified, Mrs. Womack responded that she would check the data and get back with the GNL president.
- When asked if they do background checks on the clients, Womack reported that they do right away. When asked if they house sex offenders, Womack said “no, never”. When asked how they verify them, Womack reported that they are checked in the Virginia State Sex Offender Data Base. When asked how they verify who they say they are, Womack reported that they check id. Womack did not respond when asked about finger printing. Womack did report that is they found out someone was a sex offender they would be “removed from the facility.” Womack was asked to provide the GNL specifics regarding what background checks are done. Womack said she would but asked the GNL president to not post the information to be provided about background checks on the GNL website.
- A member who indentified himself as a real estate agent reported that such a center will deter people from purchasing in this area and bring property values down to the neighborhood.
- A board member asked what other facilities they have looked at and if they are still looking a better locations not in a residential neighborhoods. Womack reported that they “are but as of right now we are going forward with this proposal,” as they see this as their “best fit.” When asked by someone in attendance if they would continue with so much resident and businesses in opposition, Womack said “yes” and that she feels we “don’t have a real understanding of what the center will be doing and who they servicing & will come to realize that they are not a negative.”
- Womack was asked by several in attendance why move it to Ghent when our neighborhood already bears the burden of servicing so much already and why not other neighborhoods who do not have as much a burden, Womack reported that this location was best suited because of Sentara NGH and that the facility would not impact the neighborhood.
- Womack was asked if there were plans to move any other services to Ghent. Womack replied that it was their plan to consolidate and expand services in Ghent as part of the plan for a Ghent campus.
- When asked about clients voluntarily checking them-selves out of the center, Womack reported that the CSB “do not allow them to leave if they are not better”. In response to a member’s question regarding if clients at the proposed facility would be allowed to check themselves out at will, Ms. Maureen Womack responded, “Yes”
- In response to a member imploring Sentara to keep the facility a daycare, as the community needs additional daycare options with the current waiting lists, the Sentara VP advised, “We have not been contacted by any daycare organizations”!
- Despite the obvious concern and opposition expressed by GNL members and Ghent residents, Ms. Womack concluded her presentation with, “We will be moving forward with this”.
Motion – GNL position is in opposition of the proposed CBS moving in Greater Ghent – 100% approve
Motion – Contact West Ghent, Ghent Sq, Downtown, GBA, Freemason, Harbor Edge, Park Place, & all other interested/impacted groups/organizations – letter to council members, planning commission (to be sent signed by GNL and others above) expressing community opposition to CSB & Sentara’s plan to move the Regional Crisis Center to Greater Ghent. 100% approve. Concerns to be sited include too many services already in Ghent, checking self-out & safety, prop values, parking, schools, & children’s park.
Discussion Topics & Presentations (cont.)
Walgreen’s Update – Walgreen’s dropped ABC application for the Colley Ave and 21st St location.
Colley Ave Benches Update – Benches only taken from locations that front business and were asked by that business to have them removed. GNL deferring to businesses.
Foodbank of Southern VA – Kid’s Cafe & Backpack program overview – After school program to feed and summer there are 2 meals served, Backpack program will slip food into backs while children are at recess. Ask to be aware of people needing service and schools that would benefit of the service. Former Board Member Jon Hanbury appointed GNL point of contact with the Foodbank of Southern VA.
Appointment of Audit Committee - Paige Rose, Suzzana Ott & Paul Amondio.
- Treasure’s Report – $11372.83 balance. Recommends moving to Towne Bank due to Wachovia no longer mailing out statements if there is inactivity. Motion to allow Treasurer make choice of bank to move too – 100% approval
- Postal Permit – Motion to approve – 100%
- Ghent Task Force – none
- GBA – none
- HAPC – none
- Sector Reps – meeting soon
- Community Improvement – none
- Publicity/Social Events – none
- Communications – newsletters are out
- Programs – Councilman Barclay Winn guest for June 2010 GNL meeting.
Elections Committee Report – uncontested election
Appointment of 2010-2011 Committee Chairs
- Sector Rep – Harry
- Membership – Jay
- Community Improvement – Susanne
- Publicity/Social Events – Paul
- Communications – Brian
- Programs – Barbara
Approval of Minutes – please board review min provided by sunday via link provided in past emails to Google Docs.
Pending Community Concerns -
- Yellow House – still working on
Adjournment – 9:25PM