NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — South Main Street in the historic Berkley section of Norfolk is back after a long battle with social and physical decay.
Long-term residents say most of the decay started back in the 1980s when the neighborhood was trashed by drug dealers.
“It was known for that kind of behavior and that kind of thing, but over the years and especially now, we are building new homes and it’s become a really nice neighborhood,” said Larry Skyles, president of the Beacon Light Civic League.
But now homeowners say their nice neighborhood is being trashed — not by people selling drugs, but by people in hard hats who are fixing ships nearby but damaging their community.
Lifelong resident Patricia Moore owns a two-story brick home near the intersection of South Main and Liberty streets, just a few yards from BAE Systems.
“They park on the streets and when they finish eating, they just throw the trash on the ground. At the end of the day, perhaps after lunch, if you walk the neighborhood, there’s trash all along the side of cars and it’s a big problem,” said Moore.
10 On Your Side visited Berkley during what residents said was a good day. Our cameras spotted plenty of food and drink containers just outside cars.
Residents and volunteers often gather to collect trash that has gathered along the streets or in their yards.
“We’ve spoken to some of the shipyards and we are trying to get the problem fixed but it’s a continual thing,” said Skyles.
Taking back their community — this time from people with hard hats — has left homeowners frustrated and exhausted at a time of year when they want to celebrate the season with loved ones.
Anthony Daniels, AKA Jack Daniels, is the vice president of the Beacon Light Civic League and a life-long resident.
“It gets kind of painful sometimes when you have outside people come in and with disregard and no respect for your community,” Daniels said.
Colonna’s Shipyard Vice Chairman Randall Crutchfield issued a statement to 10 On Your Side:
“This is the first time I’m hearing this personally, so the conversations must have been held with some of our lower-level managers. But Colonna’s does appreciate our relationship with Berkley and the Beacon Light Civic League. We will reinforce the need to continue to be good stewards of those relationships, and the Berkley community, among our employees and our subcontractors (who may be the ones parking in the neighborhood). We have in-plant parking for all of our direct employees and will urge everyone to be aware of the impact that we all have in helping to maintain not just the shipyard plant, but also the neighborhood in a way that everyone can be proud of.”
BAE Systems spokesperson Karl Johnson issued this statement to 10 On Your Side:
“We appreciate hearing about our neighbors’ concerns. BAE Systems respects our neighbors and the community around us. We will continue to remind our employees, subcontractors and shipyard visitors to exhibit personal courtesy to our neighbors. Also, BAE Systems is a partner in the City of Norfolk’s “Adopt a Spot” program, which includes the Ivy Street- Main Street area in our radius. We look forward to resuming our clean-up activities soon, after a hiatus because of COVID restrictions.”