NEWPORT NEWS — A large crowd of nearly 70 residents gathered in the Mary Passage Middle School cafeteria Thursday night to discuss a new plan for the Denbigh-Warwick area.
The objective of the meeting was to establish a comprehensive long-range planning and development vision to stabilize the neighborhood and attract new investment, said project manager Angela Hopkins.
“We want to bring in the community and ask their thoughts,” she said before the meeting started.
In addition to giving an overview of the project and discussing the demographics of the area, the residents who attended were split up into four groups to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to their community.
While discussing the demographics of the area a few were surprised by the reported average household size and home ownership figures as well as home value of the area they lived in.
The data, which was reported from the 2015 Statistical Profile published by the City of Newport News Department of Planning, showed the average household size was 2.7 for Denbigh and 2.5 for Newport News.
The report also indicated that 59 percent of the homes in Denbigh were owned; 50.2 percent for Newport News.
The most surprising figure that seemed to interest a few attendees was the median home value of $184,018 for Denbigh and $193,100 for Newport News.
Splitting up the groups
The four groups were focused on four separate areas of the plan:
- Sustainable, Healthy and Safe City
- Planning for a Prosperous and Resilient City
- Accessible City
- Unique, Well-Designed City
Overall, the groups had very similar concerns about what their city needed and could improve upon with this new area plan.
A few big concerns were the need for job training, filling commercial vacancies, adding more green space, affordable housing, lighting in shopping centers and better sidewalks, and most importantly, gun crime.
One of the groups, the Unique, Well-Designed City, debated the issues of gun crime heavily and were worried about what the police department was actually doing to combat some of that crime.
The residents also came up with a few ways they wanted the city to improve, and keeping young people from moving out was at the top of the list for a few groups.
Overall, residents came to get their complaints and ideas heard and the city took note.
There will be surveys available over the course of the next several months, three focus groups gathered and another general meeting in December to present the plan to residents.
Hopkins was encouraged to see so many people interested in helping with developing this new area plan and seemed excited to take the next steps.
To learn more about the Denbigh-Warwick Area Plan, click here.