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Public input needed for Harbor Park redevelopment

The City of Norfolk is looking for public input on its plans to redevelop the area surrounding Harbor Park.

NORFOLK, Va. — The City of Norfolk is looking for public input on the proposed redevelopment strategies for the Harbor Park area.

The city is in the final phase of creating a redevelopment strategy for various postindustrial sites at Harbor Park.  A public presentation of the redevelopment strategy, framework plan, and potential implementation steps are needed during this phase.

The space is considered a brownfield property. Given Norfolk's industrial past in industries like steel production and rail yards, the land may have once had hazardous materials. 

"It sometimes creates perception that some sites might be contaminated and that perception can sometimes prevent development, even if the sites don’t really have contamination," said Zubin Adrianvala, City of Norfolk Management Analyst III and Project Lead for Brownfield Redevelopment. 

The area the city plans on redeveloping consists of large former industrial sites adjacent to Harbor Park Tides Baseball Stadium, as well as industrial, commercial, retail, institutional and residential properties along I-264 between Brambleton Avenue, Park Avenue, Tidewater Drive, City Hall Avenue and E. Main Street.  

"Town Point Park is the playground for our tourists, but we need a playground of some semblance for our citizens also. That is what we think Harbor Park can potentially be," said Adrianvala.

The city will host an Open House on May 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the City Hall lobby.

The open house will inform the community of short-term and long-term redevelopment opportunities at Harbor Park, as well as public infrastructure and community amenity ideas proposed to reconnect Norfolk State University, South Brambleton, St. Paul’s and Downtown neighborhoods to Harbor Park.

Downtown Norfolk Council Director of Marketing Jessica Kliner said any development that can bring more business into the city is a good thing. 

"When Waterside opened, or even a new business in the Freemason area, it just brings a new revitalization to our area. There are new people coming to check things out," explained Kliner.

The redevelopment strategy for Harbor Park is strongly tied and enhances the city’s revitalization plans for St. Paul’s neighborhood, also known as the St. Paul’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) proposal for redevelopment. 

The idea of a casino has been pitched to Norfolk's City Council for the Harbor Park area. The council unanimously voted in January in favor of a resolution that supports new legislation that would allow a resort casino to be built in the city. At this point, it's not known where the casino will officially go.