Welcome to Fairmount Park!


Welcome to the award winning Fairmount Park Civic League located in the center of the City of Norfolk, Virginia and one of the City's most ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhoods.  With sweeping waterfront views, nine unique neighborhoods fall under the umbrella of Norfolk’s Fairmount Park Civic League, with many of the smaller neighborhoods nestled behind the tree-lined streets within the larger, more well known neighborhoods.  The neighborhoods are
attractive and architecturally diverse, ranging from 1950's ranch style brick homes in the tucked away Bell’s Farm neighborhood, to charming European Romantic and Victorian farmhouses in the Kent Park and Willard Park neighborhoods off of Cromwell Road, to stately two-story American Four Squares, Arts and Craft period bungalows with big porches dating back to the 1890's in the Belmont Place or Lafayette Annex neighborhoods, south of Lafayette Boulevard, one of the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares and slated for economic redevelopment.
  

The boundaries of Fairmount Park are Tidewater Drive to the west; stretching to
Norview Avenue to the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks forming the northern border. The railroad tracks intersect Chesapeake Boulevard bordering the east, to Tait Terrace, forming the southern boundary at the Lafayette River. The civic league is one of the largest in the City of Norfolk, representing about 2200 homes and over 11,000 residents.
 
The civic league is celebrating its 34th anniversary and it’s evident that the neighborhood is in a major revitalization and transition, with several projects in various stages of completion. One of the main projects, a sewer/water and street replacement project is in phase 12 of 14. Other projects include new canopy tree plantings along city streets, a new wetland park, a multi-use trail on the eastern side connecting from Tait Terrace Avenue to Lafayette Blvd, a future community garden and a planned waterfront park on the Lafayette River. Some of these projects are components of the Fairmount Park Neighborhood Implementation Plan, adopted in 2004 and others are tireless efforts by the dedication of Civic League leadership and community driven planning efforts to create a walkable, safe and environmentally conscious community.  Other projects include the Neighborhood Litter Receptacle & Litter Prevention Program and the redevelopment of Lafayette Boulevard into a thriving walkable business and commercial area. 

 

One of the crowning jewels of Fairmount Park is Shoop Park, a 5 acre park that

 recently underwent a major overhaul. New park amenities include basketball courts, volleyball court, horseshoe courts, bocce ball courts, a life trail path with exercise stations and splash pad with water play area, a children’s track and shelters. Today Shoop Park is centerpiece of the community and a major asset for homeowners who call Fairmount Park homeThe park is a major catalyst for bringing residents to the neighborhood.

 

Youth engagement is another priority for the League. In 2009, the Youth Civic League was established to get residents ages 4 to 18 active in volunteering, hosting events, fundraising and being engaged, responsible citizens of their community. They’ve also begun their own community garden which is slated to open in 2015.

The city of Norfolk and the Hampton Roads area have taken note of the Fairmount Park Civic League with its community driven process of creating change and the League is noted as an example of urban revitalization. In fact, the neighborhood has earned numerous awards at the local and state level for its active and effective role in making the neighborhood a safe and pleasant place to live for its residents. 

One award was the City of Norfolk's Civic Opportunity and Outstanding Leadership Award, a recognition program that honors grassroots projects started by residents that improves the quality of life in the community. Selected with input from community and agencystakeholders, the Fairmount Park neighborhood won the award because of its “Fairmount Park Civic League Beautification Committee” and the “Fairmount Park Neighborhood Watch Program.”  Fairmount Park’s program involves increasing awareness about code violations and educating residents on issues from building compliance to cutting tall weeds and grass with direct communication, cooperation and a hands-on approach. The committee also organizes special programs and events. The committee developed educational flyers that are posted on properties so residents or property owners are educated about their violations, allowing them time to correct the issue before city enforcement takes place, which follows a legal process.  The Fairmount Park Neighborhood Watch Program includes a series of “block captains,” with the program focusing on a block-by-block approach. The overall effort has brought residents closer together to take back their streets and instill a sense of community and quiet in an urban setting. Most recently, in 2013, the Norfolk Environmental Commission awarded the League the Award of Excellence for the Pope and Somme Wetland Restoration, a project that transformed a littered stream and tidal wetland area at the entrance to the neighborhood into an environmental education park.  The Pope and Somme Wetland Restoration was supported by  a 2012 Lowes Corporation grant which awarded the League a Community Improvement Grant, paying  for new benches, trash cans, and the city’s first recycle installation.

The League is proud of its history and its resilience to create change and plan for its future. Join us here, on Facebook or on Nextdoor. We welcome you to our community, our streets and parks and our dedicated residents.  The civic league is bordered by Tidewater Drive to the west; stretching to Norview Ave. to the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks forming its northern border. The railroad tracks intersect Chesapeake Boulevard bordering the east, to Trait Terrace, forming the southern boundary. The civic league is one of the biggest in Norfolk, representing about 2200 homes.

 
Just the kind of the neighborhood civic league president Taylor Gould was looking for when he decided to move his family from Virginia Beach to Norfolk in 2006. “My wife and I chose Fairmount Park because the
neighborhood was close to work and shopping, and we both liked the character of houses in the neighborhood. It was evident that the houses were well-built,” said Gould, a landscape architect by trade.
 
The civic league is celebrating its 30th anniversary and it’s evident that the neighborhood is in transition, with several projects in various stages of completion. One of the main projects, a sewer/water and street replacement project is in phase 7 of 13. The current phase, located on Cromwell Road east of Tidewater Drive, is almost complete and in accordance with the Fairmount Park Neighborhood Implementation Plan, adopted in 2004.

 

One of the crowning jewels of Farimount Park is Shoop Park, a city-run park that recently underwent a major overhaul. New park amenities include basketball courts, volleyball court, horseshoe courts, bocce ball courts, a life trail path with exercise stations, splashpad water play area, a children’s track and shelters as part of the Fairmount Park Neighborhood Implementation Plan.

 

“The residents, including the members of the civic league and the Norfolk City Council, especially Anthony Burfoot and City Manager Regina Williams, helped to make the Shoop Park renovation happen,” Gould said.

 

Gould credits Shoop Park as one of the major reasons why people in the market to buy a home decide to settle there. “Residents have told me when they were considering neighborhoods and were driving around, they saw the parkand said ‘this is here?’ – you can walk and don’t have to get in to your car to go to a park.” Gould said. “The park has been a major catalyst for bringing residents to the neighborhood.”

 

Gould said another reason why people are choosing to buy in Fairmount Park is that folks can see the neighborhood changing. “They see the work going on with the new streets, newly planted trees, new houses being built, and a plethora of renovated houses.”

 

In 2009, the league started a Youth Civic League with 22 members. “The youth in the neighborhood partake in neighborhood activities, cleanups and recreational activities as well as learning how to become stewards of the neighborhood,” Gould said. The city has taken note of Fairmount Park. In fact, the neighborhood earned a COOL award for its active role in making the neighborhood a safe and pleasant place to live for its residents.

 

COOL, which stands for Civic Opportunity and Outstanding Leadership, is a recognition program that

honors grassroots projects started by residents that improves the quality of life in the community.

Selected with input from community and agencystakeholders, the Fairmount Park neighborhood won the award because of its “Fairmount Park Civic League Beautification Committee” and the “Fairmount Park Neighborhood Watch Program.”

 

Fairmount Park’s program involves increasing awareness about code violations and educating residents on issues from building compliance to cutting tall weeds and grass with direct communication, cooperation and a hands-on approach. The committee also organizes special programs and events.

 

According to Gould, the committee is made up of residents who have volunteered their time to make Fairmount Park a better neighborhood.

 

The residents decided to not rely on the city entirely to take the lead to solve some of their neighborhood issues.“We decided we couldn’t wait for the city to take care of these problems. We took action and when you take action, you can free up the resources for the city to handle issues more effectively,” Gould said.

 

The beautification committee includes eleven civic league members, with two members each covering a section of Fairmount Park that has been broken down in to sub-districts. Members review their coverage area on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and report findings back to the committee chair.

 

But instead of reporting violations directly to the city, the committee developed educational flyers (which could be about mowing the grass, code violations, and environmental issues) that can be posted on the properties so residents or property owners are educated about their violations, allowing them time to correct the issue before enforcement takes place. “We get almost an 85% return on residents completing the necessary improvements without the City’s involvement,” Gould said.

 

The Fairmount Park Neighborhood Watch has grown from coverage of a one-block area in 2007 to 45 blocks today. With a series of “block captains,” the program focuses on a block-by-block approach. “The overall effort has brought residents closer together to take back their streets,” Gould said.

 

The COOL award is presented based on the following criteria: residents working together as volunteers to improve the community; encouraging individual and community responsibility for the neighborhood; an increased awareness of the importance of enhancing the quality of life in a Norfolk through neighborhood programs, events or projects; and the promotion of neighborhood unity and significant impact on neighborhood communication, interaction and cooperation.

 

Other neighborhood programs receiving honorable mentions include the Ballentine Bark Park, started by residents in the Ballentine Park neighborhood; the Knitting Mill Creek Garden, founded by area residents who converted a vacant, trash-filled lot into green space and a community garden; the Lafayette Wetlands Partnership, a citizen-based group with the mission of preserving an urban wetland along the Lafayette River; and Art/Everywhere, where empty storefront windows along Granby St. were with filled with various art mediums including sculpture, paintings and photography. Neighborhood University will be tapping into the expertise identified through the COOL Awards program.

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