Norfolk removes benches to clean up stretch of Granby Street

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Folks living near 38th and Granby streets in Norfolk will notice a change in scenery this week.

The city removed three park benches near 38th Street outside Lafayette Park. That stretch is littered every morning with empty bottles of beer and liquor, along with other trash.

“I’ve seen fights and cursing and drinking and all that stuff,” said James Cannimore.

Cannimore perches himself in Lafayette Park nearly everyday and can attest the dimly lit area is dangerous.

The city says they’ve been getting an earful from neighbors — upwards of 20 calls this year said City Spokesperson Lori Crouch.

The complaints ranged from piling up trash, to people hanging out in the dark drinking, to children playing to close to the busy street.

This week, the city pulled three park benches from the area. That raised the eyebrow of another neighbor, Jennifer Peronnet.

“It may look nicer for some people, but this is where we live.”

Peronnet contacted 10 On Your Side because she is worried about the homeless and tired workers who wait for the bus on those benches.

“It’s a beautiful park I agree, and we love to keep it beautiful, but that means it’s a public space. People need to be able to use it.”

The city agrees. Spokesperson Lori Crouch said the benches will return in about a month. They will be set further back from the street. Crouch added that Norfolk is also working with Dominion Power on new lighting. It won’t be in place until spring, but she said the city felt it just couldn’t wait.

“It was enough is enough and let’s go ahead and take them out. Short time, it might be inconvenient for some folks, but in the long-term, I think it’s going to be better for that whole area,” said Crouch.

It may not be a clean start, but from where Mr. Cannimore sits, “I appreciate what they’re doing.”