The May GNL meeting was held on Monday, May 21, 2007 at the Van Wyck Public Library.All board members were present, with the exception of Susanne Williams who was out of the country.
The meeting opened with a special presentation by Robert Hitchings, archivist at the Sargent Memorial Room at the Kirn Memorial Library, regarding the contributions of Henry DuBois Van Wyck, a Norfolk resident, patron of the arts and the one whom we can thank for leaving a legacy in his will for the first Norfolk public library branch which bears his name today: the “Van Wyck Publick Library”. Van Wyck’s home was located on Freemason Street, and though it no longer exists, his carriage house remains standing today and is one of Norfolk’s most celebrated restaurants, Omar’s Carriage House. The library unveiled a portrait of Van Wyck and hosted a cake and punch reception for all to enjoy, prior to turning the floor to the GNL for its monthly business.
As Officer Routon and guest Andrea DiCarla were not present, the meeting moved to approve the April 2007 minutes.
– Joe Maus, treasurer, reported the GNL had $11,400 in the bank at that time.
– Paige Rose, chair of the Sector Rep Committee, said that sectors had been identified at the last meeting and that an organizational meeting was held in May at her home for sector reps who had indicated interest thus far.
– Nominations and Elections Commitee: President Mason Andrews announced that this was an uncontested election, with the following members elected to serve:
– President: Mike Spencer
– First VP: Sharon Plawin
– 2nd VP: Allan Bull
– Treasurer: Joe Maus
– Secretary: Blount Hunter
– Board members: Dennis Russell, BarBara Murphy and Susanne Williams.
Mason Andrews said that this was her last meeting as current GNL president and thanked everyone for their support of her efforts. The board also thanked her for her tireless energy, committment and enthusiasm.
– Harris Teeter:
It was advised that the Harris Teeter grocery chain would not be moving forward with its expansion plans, thus the historic home on Colonial Avenue that is bordering Harris Teeter is not in danger of being torn down. Apparently, Harris Teeter did now want an adversarial relationship with the neighborhood, and as the company would not be allowed to use the house for a parking lot, their mitigating factors influenced their decision.
– Ghent Elementary temporary units:
Mike Spencer said that the school had a temporary need for the units as previous kindergarten classes had an unexpectedly high enrollment, which created larger than anticpated class sizes in the rising grades, thus temporary units were needed to allow for these rising students to cycle through. The present kindergarten class sizes were being reviewed for enrollment numbers to ensure the school does not exceed anticipated enrollment in the future. Thus, the temporary modules will eventually be eliminated. This issue was put to the board and membership to ascertain whether any action should be taken by the GNL about the trailers. No proposal was forthcoming.
– First Presbyterian Church:
Plans for expansion passed the Norfolk Design Review Committee, and the church anticipates their project moving forward.
– Williams School:
The school is interested in becoming involved with a national organization to become one of the national “weather sites;” this would entail attaching an antenna to the area behind the cafeteria so it is not an eyesore. General consensus was favorable.
– Homeless in Ghent:
BarBara Murphy, along with several GNL members, is working with the city and neighborhood churches to address the impact and solution to the homeless problem in Ghent. She had set up meetings with Sacred Heart church, along with Sharon Plawin, PaigeRose and Fred Ewell. The church has recently eliminated its program of allowing the homeless unsupervised “sleeping privileges” in their parking lot, due to the input from this group. BarBara and Sharon also attened the Norfolk Homeless Commission’s May meeting, reporting that the providers are also frustrated. It is the hope that city council members Barclay Winn and Theresa Whibley will help coordinate providers and the city to address this significant problem.
– 511 Graydon Ave.
Mason reported that Assistant City Manager Stanley Stein and Norfolk Zoning Administrator Lenny Newcomb recently have been reminded that this property is back on the radar screen and that a status update is requested.
– Brambleton Avenue project
A GNL board member asked about the proposed crosswalk in the project. It was advised this was a 1 and 1/2 year project, and we are seven months into it. The crosswalk is still being planned, however, at a later phase in the project.
The meeting was adjourned.
Minutes submitted by Paige Rose