A New Vision for a Public Space
• The city of Virginia Beach has formed a committee, The Resort Area Strategic Action Plan (RASAP) Committee, an appointed group of citizens and city staff by city council, that has been tasked with developing a comprehensive 10 year resort development vision for the oceanfront.
• The RASAP Committee has recommended to preserve Rudee Loop as a free public park and open space.
• The city of Virginia Beach has spent 100s of millions of dollars on resort tourism improvements, the opportunity exists and is recommended by the RASAP Committee to develop a world class public park free and open to the public at Rudee Loop.
• The proposal I am suggesting is that the city of Virginia Beach develop much needed public parking as part of the Loop project and a NOT FOR PROFIT entity to raise the funds for from the private sector for the park improvements such that all park improvements occur without cost to the TAX PAYER (or T.I.P. Fund) similar to Grommet Island, the Marine Science Museum, the Neptune Statue, and the 24th Street Park.
• While the RASAP Committee has developed a draft plan for the park, which included some public engagement, it is suggested that the City of Virginia Beach would conduct a massive public input process to determine best uses for the citizens as well as how to best continue to use the land to support the wonderful public events that currently take place on the South End of the beach. (Rock and Roll ½ Marathon, Something In The Water Festival, American Music Festival, Patriotic Festival, ECSC, etc) It would be impossible to continue these events in their current form without this space.
• Barry Frankenfield, former city planning director, former head of city Strategic Growth Area (SGA) Department and City of Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, has volunteered to assist me on the initial process and feels confident in securing several potential donors to the project and at least one 501(c)(3) interested in assisting the City and the RASAP in bringing the RASAP committees vision to life.
How We Get There
The process suggested would be as follows:
- We will work with the RASAP committee and include extensive public engagement to bring the final recommendation for Rudee Loop forward.
- We will present different options for a501(c)(3) partner to the city and the RASAP committee.
- City Council would adopt the Rudee Plan in concept and authorize the staff and the RASAP to work with the NOT FOR PROFIT entity to begin gathering public input as to the best component parts for the park and open space (a draft list is included in the RASAP report)
- City Council would review the recommendations for the Park use and approve the plan subject to the monies being raised by the private sector (same process was used for the Marine Science Museum, Sandler Center and 24th Street Park).
- The 501(c)(3) not for profit would have a 12-month option to raise the money. The land and park would be owned by the City and always available for future use.
The City and the committee have identified numerous resort and tourism economic development opportunities (dome site, convention hotel, 17th, 19th and 31st corridors, and the Pier) that will require significant investment. The Loop Project, however, requires comparatively minimal investment in that “private donors” will fund the park and open space improvements.