Norfolk City Council weighing public housing redevelopment plan

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk City Council will decide next week whether to enter a cooperation agreement with the Redevelopment and Housing Authority that would affect 1,700 public housing units.

The agreement would pave the way for a redevelopment plan for Tidewater Gardens, Young Terrace and Calvert Square. It would demolish the existing structures and replace them with a blend of single family homes, carriage houses, townhouses and apartments.

The city says if approved, the proposal would fit into a multi-pronged approach to revitalize what’s referred to as the St. Paul’s area. City Manager Doug Smith says, “This initiative at its core is about growing opportunity for our residents.”

A resident who spoke with 10 On Your Side said she’d like to see more local businesses offer child care so that mothers would have more work opportunities.

Councilman Paul Riddick is calling it gentrification.

“I don’t want this to be a dumping ground for the public housing residents, for Section 8 and programs of that nature,” Riddick said.

But the city says the goal is to strengthen the neighborhood by de-concentrating poverty, increasing self-sufficiency and providing access to better education.

Council is expected to vote on the agreement Tuesday. A city spokeswoman says residents in the affected communities would have opportunities for input if the proposal moves forward.