NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) – The Park Place neighborhood in Norfolk has a rich history, but one that hasn’t always been inclusive to all.
Rodney Jordan, a member of the Park Place Business Association, said segregation was a real issue across Norfolk in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.
Because of urban renewal in the city, African American business owners and residents had to adjust.
They moved to areas they had not been allowed in previously like Park Place and the 35th Street Business corridor.
“You see where the neighborhood once was predominately white, where the neighborhood has changed,” said Jordan.
Many agree that the changes are all for the better.
“Now what you are seeing is a group of businesses and residents who are committed to a diverse community with the soul of Norfolk being right here in 35th street,” explained Jordan.
The area is now home to several businesses owned by African Americans.
“It’s something that has been in my dreams like I said a little kid,” said Mrs. Shabazz, who owns a clothing store.
Mrs. Shabazz said she is happy to see growth in the area.
“Objective is small businesses coming together for a common goal of bettering themselves and the community,” said Beverly McDonald, owner of Croaker’s Spot.
McDonald said business has been picking up recently, and she is happy to be part of an up and coming community like Park Place.
“It’s been a continuous effort really led by business and property owners in the neighborhood, really trying to set a path for a new opportunity for their children for the next 50 years,” said Jordan.