Plans underway to redevelop Norfolk’s Saint Paul area

NORFOLK, Va. - Dorothy Fentress has lived in Young Terrace in downtown Norfolk for nearly two decades.

She’s ready for the brick buildings and window air conditioners to be gone.

“I think it definitely need to be torn down,” Fentress said. “I would like to be able to see beautiful yards and children playing and no guns. Just a nice neighborhood.”

That could soon be the case.

Tuesday night, the city council may vote on a “cooperation agreement” with the Redevelopment and Housing Authority to revitalize the Saint Paul area.

The area is described as the area from St. Paul's Boulevard on the west, Virginia Beach Boulevard on the north, Tidewater Drive on the east, and the City Hall Avenue on the South

This includes Young Terrace, Calvert Square, and Tidewater Gardens, which would be demolished.

According to the ordinance, the plan is to turn the poverty-stricken area into a mixed-income, mixed-use communities of opportunity.

Some tenants aren’t happy about the idea.

“I don’t think it’s gonna work,” Jennette Robinson said as she sat on her stoop.

The documents states the two agencies want to increase financial independence and provide education opportunities.

Some people tell News 3 they’ve seen it work first hand.

“When they teared down the park, the people that was stiffened where they was at,” Lakisha Parker said, who lived in the area before it became Broad Creek. “They was comfortable and accepting of their living situation, they got more motivated to go and do something. A lot of them got good careers, trades.”

But there are concerns about demolishing their homes.

“That kind of sounds like when I was living in Ghent, they said that also but when they rebuild it was too expensive for us to go back,” Fentress said.

Part of the agreement requires the NRHA to support relocation for people affected by the project.

Before any work can begin, officials will have to talk with tenants about what they’d like to see.

City staff say the project is in it’s early stages.

It’ll take several years for it to be  completed.

To see the complete ordinance, click here.