Retirement center expansion before council

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Suffolk City Council is expected Wednesday evening to review the proposed Lake Prince Woods expansion project during their September meeting.

The Suffolk Planning Commission last month approved rezoning of 45 acres along King’s Fork Road so the retirement community could begin work on more than 120 new cottages and duplexes.

Lake Prince Woods opened three years ago with 130 homes and apartments.

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Spring 2006 is the target for the beginning of new construction, said marketing director Lexa Barnes recently.

Contractors are poised to start the project, worth more than $4 million, given the city planners’ and now, council’s, go-ahead.

There is a continuing demand for more retirement housing in Suffolk, said Celia Soper, executive director of Lake Prince Woods, during last month’s Planning Commission meeting.

&uot;We are already at capacity,&uot; said Soper.

The community has a waiting list of prospective buyers for the new cottages and duplexes, she said.

September’s Council session comes a few days following the council’s annual retreat, held last Wednesday through Friday at Suffolk’s Economic Development Department.

Economic development, that recently achieved, and that to be achieved, was a good deal of the retreat’s agenda.

Council members heard reports concerning new hotel construction for a site on Godwin Boulevard and two sites in north Suffolk.

The expansion and recruitment of high-tech industries, based on improving Suffolk’s infrastructure and technology, was presented to members.

In addition to economic matters, the retreat also provided the Suffolk School Board to present the council with their first official look at the Board’s 10-year Capital Improvements Plan; which includes a proposal for a new elementary school in Southern Suffolk to replace Robertson and Southwestern Elementary Schools.

Direct election of Suffolk’s mayor, possibly starting in 2008, was also discussed last week.

&uot;I’m for it 105 percent,&uot; said Councilman Curtis Milteer. &uot;I am a strong supporter of public involvement in selecting the mayor…and every city in eastern Virginia has gone to the process.&uot;