Old space may serve new purpose in Norfolk’s NEON District

At the corner of West Olney Rd. and Wilson Ave., the empty plot of land currently isn't home to much, but the Downtown Norfolk Council has a vision.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — An old space in downtown Norfolk may be getting a new look.

The Downtown Norfolk Council is in the early stages of creating a new “green space” in the heart of the city.

The plans are still tentative, but there’s an empty space in the NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) District that currently doesn’t have much to it.  It’s owned by the city, so the folks behind the NEON District started brainstorming.

Wall Murals and street art are the hallmarks of the NEON district, making this lot stick out.

“I’d say about once a week I walk through the NEON district and I feel like this particular area is a little lackluster,” said Norfolk resident Sagre Stutzman.

That’s what the group behind the NEON District wants to change.

“It’s really central to the arts district,” said Rachel McCall, special projects manager with the Downtown Norfolk Council.

At the corner of West Olney Road and Wilson Ave., this empty plot isn’t home to much.  McCall thinks it could be something.

“We really feel like this could be a super central, great spot for new art, recreation, family activities, maybe a stage,” said McCall.

They’re just in the beginning stages, creating images of what it could be and getting feedback from the community.  One thing they’ve heard from a lot of people is that they want green space.

“It would have so much potential if they made this distinct area a park,” Stutzman said.

With green space also comes ideas for resiliency.

McCall said, “There is a lot of flooding in the arts district, so this is a chance for us to show some new ways to deal with water.”

The lot is just blocks away from The Plot, another gathering space in the NEON District.  But The Plot isn’t owned by the city, so there’s always a chance it could change.   McCall says if this project is approved, it will be permanent.

“I really envision it being an inclusive space, somewhere where everyone can go,” said McCall.  “Also a chill spot, really just a gathering ground.”

The project would eventually have to be approved by the city, but there’s no timeline on that just yet.