Recreation Parks & Open Space In Norfolk, VA

Recreation Parks & Open Space In Norfolk, VA


>>>WELCOME TO NPS CITY SLICE.
I’M BOB BATCHER. I GOT A REALLY SPECIAL GUY ON
THE SOFA, DARRELL CRITTENDON, WHO IS THE DIRECTOR OF
RECREATION, PARKS AND OPEN SPACES.
HOW YOU DOING?>>HEY, BOB, HOW YOU DOING?
>>I GOT A REAL DILEMMA. I’VE BEEN TRYING TO A YEAR TO
GET YOU BACK ON THE SHOW AND JENNIFER CALDWELL ALWAYS COMES
ON INSTEAD AND SHE SAYS YOU CAN TALK TO MY BOSS, BUT I’M GOING
TO GIVE YOU A SCRIPT. YOU KNOW WHAT?
HERE IT IS.>>I KNEW IT, BOB.
I KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO STICK TO SCRIPT.
>>YOU ARE THE ONE GUY THAT HAS THE JOB THAT EVERYBODY IS
JEALOUS ABOUT BECAUSE YOU GET TO PLAY ALL DAY LONG.
IS THAT WHAT IT’S ABOUT?>>WELL, WE DO BELIEVE IN PLAY
AND ACTUALLY, WE PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE TO
PLAY, BUT I GUESS WHEN YOU GET TO THE EXECUTIVE LEVEL IN OUR
FIELD, IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT PLAY.
WE TRY TO CREATE PLAY, DEFINE PLAY, PROVIDE PLAY
OPPORTUNITIES, BUT IN A DIRECTOR’S CHAIR, THERE’S
PERSONNEL, BUDGET, CAPITAL PROJECTS, SO THESE ARE ALL
THINGS THAT TIE INTO PLAY, BUT I’M NOT REALLY HANDS-ON WITH
PLAY ANYMORE. YES, MY DEPARTMENT IS ALL ABOUT
CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PLAY.>>NOW, I’M GOING TO, IN FULL
DISCLOSURE, I HAVE TO SAY THIS, THERE’S A SPECIAL PERSON
WATCHING THE SHOW RIGHT HERE IN THE STUDIO CALLED YOUR DAUGHTER.
>>YEAH, MY DAUGHTER IS HERE.>>I CAN’T GO TEN MINUTES
TALKING TO YOU ON THE PHONE WITHOUT YOUR DAUGHTER COMING UP,
BUT IT SPEAKS VOLUMES OF YOU BECAUSE DEVELOPING PROGRAMS IN
OUR COMMUNITY THAT WILL INVEST AND GROW OUR FUTURE GENERATION.
THAT’S PART OF WHAT YOU’RE REALLY ALL ABOUT.
>>THAT IS TRUE AND THERE’S NO BETTER WAY TO BUILD A BOND THAN
ACTUALLY PARTICIPATING IN SPORTS, FAMILY EVENTS, AND
ANYTIME THAT A FATHER CAN DO THAT WITH HIS DAUGHTER OR EVEN A
SON, I MEAN, THAT’S THE BEST WAY TO BUILD A BOND.
I MEAN, DOING THINGS TOGETHER, HAVING FUN, EXPLORING NEW
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES, AND THAT’S WHAT MAKES RECREATION
GREAT.>>OKAY.
SO IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT — AND SOMETIMES WE GET INTO THE —
ESPECIALLY WITH MY FITNESS ROOM. YOU WERE PROBABLY ONE OF THE
FIRST ONES TO SUPPORT ME BY REALLY INSULTING ME ABOUT IT.
YOU KNOW, I CAN DO THIS, WHY CAN’T YOU?
BECAUSE THERE’S THAT LOCKER ROOM KIND OF STUFF, BUT IT’S MORE
THAN JUST THE ATHLETIC PART OF PARKS AND REC, RIGHT?
>>I THINK THE ATHLETIC STUFF STARTS AT AGE 30.
[ LAUGHTER ]>>I WAS GOING TO SAY, MY KNEES
ARE STILL GOOD.>>FROM 30 AND ABOVE, IT’S JUST
ACTUALLY WELLNESS, STAYING FIT, MAKING SURE THAT YOU’RE ACTIVE,
BUT HARD-CORE COMPETITIVE SPORTS AND JUST BEING VERY COMPETITIVE
IN NATURE, CHALLENGING PEOPLE, PLAYING AGAINST PEOPLE, THAT
KIND OF SORT OF STOPS AROUND 30 BECAUSE EVERYTHING THAT YOU
INJURED IN HIGH SCHOOL OR INJURED IN COLLEGE, IT COMES
BACK AND IT HAUNTS YOU AT AGE 40, 35.
YOU FEEL IT.>>BUT YOU SHOULDN’T QUIT.
>>NO, YOU SHOULD NEVER QUIT. YOU KNOW, THAT’S THE KEY OF
REMAINING YOUNG, YOUNG AT HEART, YOUNG IN MIND.
STAYING ACTIVE, BECAUSE ONCE YOU STOP, THAT’S WHEN YOU’RE TRULY
STARTING TO FEEL OLD.>>SO YOU’VE GOT THAT KIND OF
BALANCE IN THE PROGRAMMING FOR THE REC CENTERS.
>>YES, WE DO. WE’RE VERY BLESSED BECAUSE A LOT
OF OUR REC CENTERS, BASICALLY, WE HAVE MULTI-GENERATIONAL
PROGRAMMING AND WE SERVE ALL AGE GROUPS.
WE HAVE BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS, SENIOR PROGRAMS.
WE EVEN HAVE PROGRAMS FOR THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS IN ALL AGE
GROUPS. THAT CAN BE YOUTH, ADULTS AND
SENIORS. WE ACTUALLY HAVE PROGRAMS FOR
TEENS, SO WE SERVE A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYBODY.
>>OKAY. AQUATICS?
>>AQUATICS IS OUTSTANDING.>>WE’RE A CITY OF WATER.
>>WE ARE A CITY OF WATER, AND OUR AQUATICS DIVISION DOES A
GREAT JOB. WE ACTUALLY HAVE PROGRAMS WITH
NORFOLK PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM THAT ENCOURAGES SECOND GRADERS
TO LEARN HOW TO SWIM, FOURTH GRADERS, AND WE HAVE A LOT OF
PARTNERSHIPS TO PROVIDE AQUATICS OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL AGE
GROUPS.>>WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU HEAR
A MOM SAY, I DON’T KNOW HOW TO SWIM?
>>IF I HEAR THAT, THE FIRST THING I DO IS GIVE THEM A LOOK
LIKE, YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO SWIM?
>>IN THIS TOWN.>>BECAUSE, BOB, THERE ARE LOTS
OF OPPORTUNITIES, NOT ONLY WITH US, THE YMCAs, THERE’S NO REASON
WHY AN ADULT OR ANYBODY SHOULD NOT LEARN HOW TO SWIM AND I
ALWAYS KIND OF THINK OF IT LIKE THIS.
YOU’RE NOT LEARNING TO SWIM JUST BECAUSE YOU NEED TO.
YOU’RE LEARNING TO SWIM BECAUSE YOU CAN ACTUALLY SAVE SOMEBODY’S
LIFE OR EVEN SAVE YOUR OWN. AND BECAUSE WE’RE SURROUNDED BY
WATER, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THERE MIGHT BE A FAMILY OUTING OR ANY
TYPE OF AN EVENT THAT YOU’RE AT AND AN ACCIDENT HAPPENS AND HOW
ARE YOU GOING TO FEEL IF YOU COULD NOT DO ANYTHING TO SAVE A
LOVED ONE? SO IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO LEARN
HOW TO SWIM.>>NOW, YOU KNOW, YOUR STAFF
COMES ON QUITE A BIT BECAUSE THERE’S SUCH COOL PROGRAMS
THROUGH OUR REC PROGRAM, AND BUT THE WORD SNEAKY ALWAYS COMES TO
MIND BECAUSE I START OFF WITH THIS CONVERSATION, LET’S PLAY,
BUT IT’S NOT PLAY. IT’S REALLY ABOUT BUILDING
TEAMS, BUILDING CHARACTER, BUILDING SPIRIT.
AND THE CLASSES ARE THAT WAY TOO, AREN’T THEY?
>>YEAH, ACTUALLY, WHAT WE REALLY WANT IS WE HAVE OBJECTIVE
PERFORMANCE MEASURES, SO TO SPEAK, AND EVERY CLASS WE OFFER,
WE’RE LOOKING TO GET OUTCOMES THAT BASICALLY WE CAN MEASURE TO
SEE HOW WELL WE’RE DOING, BUT NOT ONLY THAT, TO MAKE SURE
SOMEBODY GETS SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE OUT OF EVERY CLASS.
IN THE EARLY ’70s, EVERYBODY THOUGHT RECREATION WAS AS SIMPLE
AS ROLLING A BASKETBALL OUT IN THE GYM AND EVERYBODY PLAY.
NOW YOU HAVE LEARNING OBJECTIVES, JUST LIKE CLASSROOM
WITH SOLs IN THE SCHOOL, WE HAVE THE SAME TYPE OF OBJECTIVES AND
GOALS WHERE, HOW ARE WE PERFORMING, WHAT TECHNIQUES ARE
TAUGHT, WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES, WHAT DO YOU LEARN OR GET FROM
THE CLASS, WILL YOU BE ABLE TO ADVANCE TO A NEW LEVEL AND
THAT’S WHAT WE TRY TO DO WITH ALL OF OUR INSTRUCTIONAL
CLASSES.>>HOW ABOUT THE BEFORE AND
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS?>>BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL —
>>THIS IS WHERE YOU GET SNEAKY.>>BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL, BOB,
AGAIN, IT’S NOT A TRADITIONAL DAYCARE PROVIDING TYPE OF AGENCY
OR ORGANIZATION. WE DON’T WANT PEOPLE OR PARENTS
JUST TO DROP THEIR KIDS OFF AND THINK THE ONLY THING THEY’RE
GOING TO DO IS GET A SNACK AND PLAY BASKETBALL.
NO, WE’RE LOOKING AT ACTUALLY TRYING TO REINFORCE WHAT THE
SCHOOLS TEACH WITH MATH SOLs, ENGLISH SOLs AND WE HAVE THE
HURRAH PLAYERS COME INTO SOME OF THE CENTERS AND TEACHING ACTING
AND DRAMA AND HAVE GREAT ATTENDANCE.
>>WHEN THE KID CAME HOME AND WHAT DO YOU PROBABLY TELL HIS
MOM?>>I THINK HE’S GOING TO SAY,
MOM, I HAD A GREAT TIME AND GUESS WHAT?
YOU KNOW, I DON’T WANT TO BE AN ENGINEER ANYMORE.
I WANT TO BE AN ACTOR OR I WANT TO BE IN DRAMA OR DANCE.
>>YEAH, THAT NUMBER IS 441- — OKAY, I’M GOING TO SWITCH GEARS
ON YOU. TALL GRASS AND WEEDS.
BECAUSE IT IS RECREATION, WHICH WE COVERED, AND PARKS AND OPEN
SPACE. TALL GRASS AND WEEDS.
COMING UP. I KNOW IT’S COLD TODAY, DARRELL,
BUT IT WILL GET WARM.>>RIGHT AROUND MARCH, THE
THIRD, FOURTH WEEK OF MARCH IS WHEN WE START HAVING THE GUYS
CRANK UP THE LAWNMOWERS AND I HAD SAY THEY DID AN OUTSTANDING
JOB THIS PAST SUMMER AND SPRING. WE CUT ALL OF OUR OPEN SPACE AND
PUBLIC SPACES ON A 12-DAY CYCLE. OUR CEMETERIES MAINTAIN 10-DAY
CYCLES AND THE GUYS HAVE DONE VERY GOOD AND BEEN VERY
METICULOUS WITH MAINTAINING THE CYCLES.
AND WHAT WE DO IN THE WINTER MONTHS, WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE
DON’T KNOW, IS ACTUALLY IN OUR ATHLETICS FIELDS, WE’RE LOOKING
AT ACTUALLY MAKING SURE THAT WE PULVERIZE A LOT OF THOSE FIELDS,
OVERSEED THEM. THEY ACTUALLY AERATE THE FIELDS
SO YOU HAVE NICE PLAYING SURFACES AND THE OTHER PART IS
NOT ONLY LAWN MAINTENANCE AND MAKING SURE THE FIELDS LOOK
GOOD, WE’RE ACTUALLY PLANTING TREES AS WELL.
>>BECAUSE IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR.
>>IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AND THE URBAN TREE STANDARD FOR
URBAN TREE CANOPIES IS 40%. THE CITY OF NORFOLK RIGHT NOW IS
AT 33%. WE’D HAVE TO PLANT CLOSE TO
180,000 TREES IN ORDER TO REACH THAT 40% AND WHAT WE’RE ASKING
AND THIS IS MY PLEA TO THE PUBLIC, WE CAN’T DO IT ALONE
JUST IN PUBLIC SPACES AND ACTUALLY THOSE OWNED BY
MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT. WE’RE ASKING ALL PROPERTY OWNERS
TO PLANT TREES BECAUSE THAT’S THE WAY THE CITY OF NORFOLK’S
TREE CANOPY PERCENTAGE WILL GO UP, THE MORE TREES WE PLANT.
AND ACTUALLY, WE HAVE A STREET TREE PROGRAM.
IF YOU DESIRE A TREE IN A ROAD THAT IS NEAR YOUR HOME, CALL OUR
PARKS AND URBAN FORESTRY OFFICE AND WE PROVIDE STREET TREES AS
WELL.>>TALKING ABOUT THE CITYWIDE,
YOU JUST GOT AN APPROVED MASTER PLAN FOR PARKS.
HOW ARE WE DOING ON THAT?>>WE’RE DOING PRETTY WELL.
THE FOCUS OF OUR RECREATION, PARKS AND OPEN SPACE MASTER PLAN
IS RECONNECT, REFRESH, REFOCUS, AND WHAT THOSE THREE R’S REALLY
MEAN IS TAKING A HARD LOOK AT WHAT WE’RE CURRENTLY HAVE, HOW
DO WE MAKE IT BETTER BY REFURBISHMENT AND THAT MEANS TO
REFOCUS ON IT. RECONNECT MEANING HOW DO WE
ESTABLISH TRAILS AND BIKEWAYS AND WALKWAYS FOR OUR CITIZENS TO
ACTUALLY CONNECT WITH OTHER NEIGHBORHOODS AND COMMUNITIES,
AND HOW CAN YOU GET TO YOUR POINTS OF DESTINATIONS THROUGH
TRAILS. AND THEN THE OTHER THING IS LOOK
AT SOME OF OUR EXISTING FACILITIES.
A LOT OF TIMES WE DON’T HAVE TO ALWAYS BUILD SOMETHING NEW.
IT’S ACTUALLY ADDING ON A PIECE TO SOMETHING THAT’S EXISTING.
A LOT MORE COST EFFECTIVE, BUT ACTUALLY GIVES YOU CHANCE TO
OFFER MULTI-SERVICE AND MULTI DIMENSIONAL PROGRAMS BY ADDING
ON.>>AND QUITE CANDIDLY, WE’RE AN
ESTABLISHED, OLDER CITY.>>YES, WE ARE.
>>WHICH MEANS, UNBEKNOWNST TO US WHEN WE CAME ON BOARD, KIND
OF THE STRATEGY FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD REC CENTER WAS BORN
OUT OF WORLD WAR II SO YOU HAVE THE FACILITIES PROBABLY MORE
THAN OTHER MUNICIPALITIES.>>YES, OUR LARGEST FACILITY IS
AROUND 27,000 SQUARE FEET AND THAT’S IN NORVIEW COMMUNITY
CENTER.>>AND YET, SO LET’S SWITCH
GEARS NOW. LET’S TALK ABOUT PARKS.
ANY NEW PARKS ON THE DRAWING BOARD?
>>WELL, ACTUALLY, I’M KIND OF EXCITED.
THIS HAS BEEN A LONG PROJECT, A LONG OVERDUE PROJECT, AND IT’S
FOR A 11-ACRE PARK AND YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OF IT, BOB.
BAY OAKS PARK.>>I GET CALLED ON THAT ALL THE
TIME! I WAS HOPING YOU’D MENTION THAT.
>>WELL, BAY OAKS WILL BE IN A 11-ACRE PASSIVE PARK.
WE’VE ACTUALLY BEEN ALLOCATED $250,000 TO START INITIAL WORK
ON THE PARK AND THAT 250,000 WILL BE ALLOCATED TOWARDS THE
INGRESS AND EGRESS POINT IN THE PARK WHERE WE HAVE A NICE
PERGOLA CONSTRUCTED AND WE’LL DEMOLISH FOURTH BAY AVENUE
BECAUSE THAT RUNS THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE PARK.
WE’LL REMOVE THAT AND OVERSEED IT, PUT IN FILL AND PUT GRASS
THERE SO YOU DON’T HAVE A RIDE RUNNING THROUGH THE — A ROAD
RUNNING THROUGH THE PARK AND THE THIRD PART IS WE’LL IS NICE
MONUMENTAL SIGNS ERECTED, TWO ERECTED WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE
PARK COMING AND GOING.>>WHEN YOU MENTION PASSIVE
PARK, I GET CEMETERIES ARE OPEN SPACE?
IS THAT HOW YOU GOT THEM UNDER THE RECREATION, PARKS AND OPEN
SPACES?>>MOST MUNICIPALITIES, AND
ACTUALLY I WOULD SAY ACROSS AMERICA, WHEN A CEMETERY NO
LONGER HAS AN ACTIVE LIFE, MEANING NO MORE BURIALS ARE
CONDUCTED OR FUNERAL SERVICES CONDUCTED, THEY TURN INTO PARKS.
A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T VIEW CEMETERIES AS PARKS, BUT THEY
ARE OPEN SPACE AND THEY PROVIDE WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITIES FOR
TOURS, INTERPRETIVE TRAILS, INTERPRETIVE TOURS, THE WHOLE
NINE YARDS, SO THEY ARE IN ESSENCE PARK PROPERTIES AS WELL
WHEN THEY’RE DONE WITH THEIR ACTIVE STATE.
>>ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS REALLY GROWING AND I HEARD IT IN
MY WARRIOR CLASS AT FITNESS CENTER, THAT’S A PLUG, THE
VOLUNTEER EFFORT WITHIN THE WHOLE CEMETERY MOVEMENT.
THIS IS REALLY BECOMING A POINT OF ENGAGEMENT FOR PEOPLE, ISN’T
IT?>>KUDOS TO BOBBIE NELSON, OUR
HISTORICAL CURATOR FOR CEMETERIES, DOES A GREAT JOB AND
I GOT TO GIVE A SHOUT TO TED DUDLEY, OUR BUREAU MANAGER.
HIS LEADERSHIP OVER CEMETERIES, HE’S DONE GOOD STUFF, BUT
REALLY, BOBBIE HAS TAKEN THE BULL BY THE HORNS WHEN IT COMES
TO WORKING WITH THE 501(C)(3) GROUP AND WORKING WITH
CEMETERIES FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND CARE OF CEMETERIES AND SHE’S
ESTABLISHED WONDERFUL PROGRAMS LIKE 5K RACES, TOURS, THE WHOLE
NINE YARDS AND WORKING WITH THIS GROUP, WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO DO
SOME FUNDRAISING TO HELP MAINTAIN OUR EIGHT PUBLIC OWNED
CEMETERIES AND IT LED TO US GETTING A VIRGINIA PARKS SOCIETY
AWARD FOR OUR CEMETERY SCAPE PROGRAM, WHICH IS TAKING PHOTOS
OF CEMETERIES TO CAPTURE THE BEAUTY, THE HERITAGE OF
CEMETERIES, AND HISTORICAL VALUE OF CEMETERIES.
SO AGAIN, KUDOS TO BOBBIE AND TED.
>>I JUST GOT THE CLOSE SIGN AND I’M GOING TO THROW YOU UNDER THE
BUS. WHATEVER WE DIDN’T TALK ABOUT IS
BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T MENTION IT. I’M GOING TO SAY YOU GOT TO COME
BACK TO TO TALK ABOUT THERAPEUTIC, BEACHES, MORE ON
TREES.>>BOB, I’LL BE GLAD TO COME
BACK.>>THAT’S A COMMITMENT.
>>YES, IT IS.>>THANKS FOR JOINING US.

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