The Virginian Pilot August 23,2019
The public on Thursday got its first look at the city’s plan to makeover the most prized waterfront property at the southern end of the Oceanfront.
The idea for Rudee Loop involves transforming parking lots and vacant land into a sprawling park, leaving room for commercial development and a garage.
With sweeping ocean views and places to play, the concept packs a punch.
Nearly 200 people attended a meeting at the Convention Center to look at drawings of the Rudee Loop proposal.
The plan would unfold in circular patterns over 11 acres. Grommet Island Park, an accessible playground on the beach at 2nd Street, would be preserved.
Features would include:
- A dog park
- Skateboarding space
- Open fields
- Surfboard lockers
- Outdoor showers
- A plaza with a stage
- Basketball courts overlooking the inlet and ocean
April King Smith, a member of the Seatack Civic League, liked the idea of replacing the existing paved parking lots with green areas.
“I’m loving the space that we have for the dogs,” she said.
The meeting, where a 10-year action plan for the resort area was discussed in break-out sessions, was a chance for residents to make suggestions to a committee of people representing a neighborhood, restaurants, hotels and the city.
Several groups didn’t like the plan to put basketball courts close to the water. One group suggested more direct pathways to the beach; another wanted better access for people who want to fish.
“Nothing’s set in stone,” said Kathy Warren, manager of the city’s Strategic Growth Areas Office. Warren’s team analyzes urban design, parking and financial tools for land-use planning. The city has hired Work Program Architects for $72,000 to be the consultant for the Resort Area Strategic Area Plan.
The renderings, maps and a new survey will be available at vbgov.com.
Even with all the planned green space, the city isn’t ruling out commercial development and a parking garage at the northern end of Rudee Loop.
Eddie Chaplain, whose family owns Colony Motel and Mobile Home Park, would like to see more development there.
“It’s pretty and nice, but we have to have something to generate revenue,” he said.
Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, firstname.lastname@example.org