NORFOLK, Va. - For several years now Waterside Festival Marketplace has becomemore barren of shops and visitors. And, Norfolk leaders knowit.
"Unfortunately it's turning into a mini ghost town," saidCouncilman Randy Wright. But, they don't know what to do withWaterside. "It's something the Council has not made anydetermination about at this point," said Wright.
In August 10 the city closed down Have a Nice Day Cafe and BarNorfolk inside Waterside for ongoing code violations. Last week,Norfolk Festevents suspended Club 20-20, a monthly dance forteenagers, because of capacity limitations. And Monday WAVY.comrevealed plans by Jillian's restaurant to possibly pack up andleave Waterside.
As the venues occupancy rate plummets... the taxpayer's billkeeps rising. This year city residents subsidized Waterside to thetune of $1,050,000. And the new year, 2010, calls for $1.35 millionfrom taxpayers. So, when are city leaders going to figure out whatto do with Waterside? Councilman Barclay Winn told WAVY.com "We arestill working on it. We're going to get it together. We've got alot of smart people doing a lot of thinking on it and we're goingto get it right."
Recalling Waterside's popular past, manager Lane Brown saysattracting strong new tenants is crucial. "We need to bring in someadditional stores that are going to be compatible with thefamily-friendly goal that we are all looking for for Waterside."City leaders say they are committed to solving Waterside'swoes.
Also, Brown says the owners of Bar Norfolk and Have a Nice DayCafe have been given their keys to their establishments back, butthey still are not allowed to sell alcohol, they remain closed andthey are still in talks with the city about how to resolve theissue.
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