NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The Waterside Festival Marketplace no longer lives up to its name but a group of out-of-town experts hopes to bring the party back. The five person panel toured the Norfolk icon Monday morning.
The panelists include a maritime developer, a North Carolina planning director, a former director of community development and a public-private development consultant.
"We're hoping this group can take a look at our entire waterfront here and talk about how can it all work together and compliment downtown," said Norfolk Assistant City Manager Stanley Stein.
There's been plenty of input on the site ranging from tearing it down to reclaiming it as it once was and combinations in between. Downtown Norfolk Civic League President Kevin Murphy says someone needs to step up and point a plan in the right direction.
"I think the city needs to decide what it wants to do next then decide whether or not the existing structure can be part of that plan. I think if you did a conference center, a festive marketplace, a seafood market it can be adapted to accommodate those uses," said Murphy.
Whatever happens, Stein says it won't happen overnight. "People should not make an assumption a decision will be made and the next day you start throwing everybody out or adding people to it or not," he said.
The panel will present its recommendation to city council in January. Norfolk Councilman Barclay Winn says there will be a series of public hearings following the release of the report. Until then, the city is extending short term contracts to food vendors. Stein says plans for a new pizza parlor are in the works.
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