NORFOLK -- As more people move to Norfolk, they need places to live.

So, officials are gearing up to buy blighted property in the Ocean View neighborhood. Among them is the former Traveler's Inn, which burned down in February 2012. City spokeswoman Lori Crouch says the property will become open beach space, public access will be extended and that will increase property value in the area.

It's the first expansion in decades to the public beach and park area, said Mayor Paul Fraim in his State of the City speech on Friday.

He cited the most recent US Census (2000-2010) which showed 8400 people came to the city. He added that by July of last year, another 3,000 people had moved to town.

Norfolk has already purchased several properties in the Denby Park area and has $170 million worth of new residential projects completed, underway or on the books, including Riverview Lofts in the Fort Norfolk neighborhood.

Ocean View resident Suellen Seabrook said the hotel was a commonplace for crime in the area. She was concerned that it would be rebuilt after the fire.

'The fire happened and it took it away. So we've been worried that they would rebuild, and we are very happy that's not going to happen now,' said Seabrook.

Real Estate Agent Debra Griggs said purchasing properties in Ocean View and Denby Park area is a good move by The City.

'We've got great citizens in those neighborhoods who have had problems with crime and this is going to create a shift in the whole culture there,' said Griggs.

City Council will vote on the agreement reached with the property owner at their meeting Tuesday, Feb.12.

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