Hurry up and wait

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 20, 2003

Do you remember a year or so back when there was a big fuss over where to place the 30-inch sewer – the largest in the state – and a 14- inch water line that would run all the way out to the airport? This was going on when other parts of the city were begging for the same city services, and had been begging for years. There was a lot of debate about the necessity of digging up Causey Street, a street of historical significance, a pleasant street with fine old homes lining it. The residents, naturally, raised hell and suggested there were other routes to the airport that didn’t threaten the beauty of their street. But no, it had to be there and now, and the risk remains that repairs might one day be needed, and that odors might permeate the area. Hah, there is no risk at all; we understand that nobody is using either line. That little adventure cost taxpayers, city and state well over $7 million, and other parts of the city are still waiting, impatiently. Go figure.

When the boat owners survey came out last week it seemed quite obvious it was designed to create citizen interest in constructing a marina at Lone Star Lakes. That was no surprise in light of the city manager’s keen desire to move the Nansemond Indian village anywhere else. What was a surprise was the intelligent approach to improving the current Brady’s Marina as an outlet to the river and the bay. Mr. Brady is a fine gentleman and maybe he could be convinced to sell his location to the city so that a launching facility could be placed there. That makes sense, you could travel north or south from there to fish or just tour the river. It would even be possible to run a tourist boat from that location, using the Elite from Norfolk.

The plans for the Hilton Inn did not allow a launching ramp for small local boat owners, much too trashy, and the one that was there for years was removed. The city found it was unable to lure other nearby riverfront landowners to allow such a site on their property, or sell to the city. Brady’s would be ideal; a channel that has already found favor with the Corps of Engineers could be deepened and maintained. One or more ramps could be installed and room for trucks, cars and trailers provided. As the survey suggests, it could also be a place to buy bait and lunch. If this is a city idea it is a good one. Surely someone will profit from this one day whether it be Mr. Brady or the city, or some other entrepreneur. It will take quite an investment, but less than a marina at Lone Star. And it is even possible to have just a boat-launching site at Lone Star, assuming the Corps would bless that arrangement.

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Which leads back to Mattanock Town. No one has yet mentioned what that Indian Village might do for the village of Chuckatuck. A tourist attraction like that could bring more commercial life to that area. Fat Boys might serve three meals. Surely other ventures would come on line and Chuckatuck could begin to capitalize on its prime location. That dangerous intersection would gain one or more stoplights, the post office become even more famous, and 7-11 put in more pumps or sell out to other kinds of business owners. I suspect homeowners along 10/32 near Chuckatuck would be eager to sell at the prices they could get then, and other businesses would flourish. It would no longer be just a &uot;slow down&uot; spot on the highway- four lanes for sure. Only Chuckatuck citizens should decide if that is what they want, but surely there’s great potential.

A fight is looming down on Carolina Road between the city planners and the challenging developers who will eventually suck up every empty piece of available land within our borders. Years ago I wrote about the lady who unintentionally allowed a bag of potting soil to fall off her truck. By the time she got back to pick it up a developer had already built a house on it. It is their nature, they cannot help it and survive only by building something somewhere. No land, no build, no eat, no pay taxes. Developers operate as instinctively as a lion in the jungle that must kill a zebra to survive. The difference is that the lion doesn’t kill every zebra; may the city planners prevail.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at: