March 16, 2009 – Blair Middle School
Present: President Michael Spencer, First Vice President Paige Rose, Secretary Joan McEnery, Board Members Irene Blake, Henry Conde, BarBara Murphy and Susanne Williams
Absent: Second Vice President Sharon Plawin, Treasurer Dennis Russell, Past President Mason Andrews, Board Member Jon Hanbury
Board, Members and Guest Introductions
Officer Gilda Klein reported that there were 12 incidents, of which four were residential burglaries, three were larcenies from autos and two were other larcenies. Officers Klein also provided information regarding the “Badges for Baseball” program. The board unanimously approved a motion for the league to make a $100 donation to the program in honor of Officer Klein.
Don Buma, director of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, provided an overview of the programs and offerings of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens including the world famous Eagle Cam, the new Childrens’ Garden and upcoming improvements to the gardens. Director Buma announced the upcoming dedication of the WPA sculpture and shared his expertise by answering gardening and horticultural questions posed by league members.
Community Garden Program
Jennifer Lee expressed her interest starting a community garden program in Ghent. Lee identified the volleyball court on Colley Avenue as a possible location; she was invited by the board to make a presentation regarding the program at a future meeting.
Norfolk city officials Rick Henn and Janice Hurley provided a detailed presentation on Ghent’s demographics. Ghent has the highest population density in the city and has continued to have an ever-increasing population density since the last census in 2000. Ghent has added nearly 600 residential units with a projected total increase of 950 residents since 2000. As of 2000, one out of four Ghent residents was between the ages of and 34, half of all households were single-person households and 26 percent of residential units were owner-occupied. City officials also provided information regarding current and future development projects including the expansion of the Net bus into Ghent and light rail.
Spotswood – Brandon metered parking lot
City Planning Department official Richard Loboko presented the plans for the 35-space Spotswood-Brandon parking lot. It was reported that planning officials had met with neighbors, and the final design did address some of the neighbors’ concerns. The lot will have a landscaped barrier surrounding it with trees and bushes underneath and there will be 25-foot directional lighting. Community concerns expressed to officials during the meeting included continued concerns regarding operation of the lot, opposition to the proposal for 24-7 metering, the loss of six residential spaces and residents’ desire for residential sticker parking. City officials in attendance stated that operational aspects of the lot were not yet finalized and that community concerns would be forwarded to those involved in the planning.
Ghent Business Association
Board member Irene Blake reported that the league’s welcome basket program presentation to the association was extremely well received and that association members are very interested in participating.
First Vice President Paige Rose reported that the sector rep program will be featured in the Ghent Newsletter and that sector reps are an important way for community concerns to be communicated to the board and others in Ghent. The sector reps have hand-delivered newsletters and they will coordinate delivery of the welcome baskets. Vice President Rose reported that there continues to be great community concern regarding the crime report not including all the crimes that are occurring in Ghent. It was reported that the Norfolk Chief of Police has been asked to address this when he speaks at an upcoming meeting. The next sectors rep meeting will be March 24.
President Spencer reported that membership renewals have been mailed to members.
President Spencer provided the committee’s preliminary report to the board with the following 2009 proposed slate of officers and board members: President – Joan McEnery; First Vice President – Henry Conde: Second Vice President – Paige Rose; Treasurer – to be determined; Secretary – Irene Blake; Board Members – Jon Hanbury, Susanne Williams, BarBara Murphy, Harry Worley and Brian Douglas Smith.
- Norfolk Sheriff’s Department: It was announced that the department has a college scholarship program.
- Trees: A league member’s concern regarding trees being removed was brought to the board’s attention. The status of a program to widen the tree wells in the Hague area was also brought up. At the direction of the board, BarBara Murphy, chair of the league’s programs committee, will invite the city arborist to be the speaker at the next meeting.
- Programs: In response to a board member inquiry, Murphy stated that the May historic preservation speaker had not yet been confirmed.
- Trash talk: A question was asked about the permissibility of a resident on Yarmouth Street leaving trash cans at the curb all week. City officials in attendance were asked to investigate this as a possible code violation.