VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – City council has approved a plan to turn a townhouse in the Lake Edward Community into a community hub. It will be called “The Spot.”
Officials say the idea is to create a safe place for people to gather and have activities that will improve their lives.
“The Spot” is a place where children can be mentored and tutored. There can be spoken word events and even book club gatherings there.
Outside looks like a typical town home.
Jessica Guglielmo, Community Development Corporation Chief Operating Officer told 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings, “We are so excited. This is a great day.”
Nothing has changed inside but a few months will make the difference.
“We’re hoping to transform this space into a meeting area,” Guglielmo said of one room inside.
The idea to change the rental property into a community hub began months ago.
The non-profit group, the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation, owns the home and decided its property on Pickering Street in the Lake Edward Community was the right location to create a place for people to gather.
“This has more worth from the heart,” Virginia Beach City Councilwoman Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond said.
She represents the area and supports the idea but had some concerns with the original plans.
“Security was very important. To me they needed to have cameras in and outside and they promised to have that,” Dr. Ross-Hammond said.
Tanya Shadley lives a few doors down from “The Spot” and was unsettled when she first heard about it.
“We’re very concerned about how much traffic comes in and out and if people are just hanging out. You don’t want the neighborhood looking like that,” she said.
However, after learning more during a community meeting Shadley changed her mind.
Changes from the original plans led the majority of the Virginia Beach City Council to also vote to pass the plan in a 9 to 1 vote Tuesday night.
Councilman Jim Wood told Cummings by phone Wednesday that he voted against it because he didn’t think it was a good use of residential property. He said there is ample commercial property in the area.
“We know the community is very passionate to see something so I asked them to give them a chance to prove themselves,” Dr. Ross-Hammond said.
The Spot has been given a one year permit to use the townhouse. When that time is up, the non-profit group who runs it must go back to council for future approval.
There is no word yet on what date “The Spot” will open.