Monday, August 29, 2022

September Newsletter and Events

  • Upcoming Events
    • 9/15 - Thursday - Bi-monthly Meeting: Monarch Butterflies
    • 9/17 - Saturday - International Coastal Cleanup by Canoe/Kayak
    • 10/6 - Thursday - Chesapeake Conservation Conference and Annual Environmental Awards Luncheon
  • Other News
    • Fall Events Poster
    • Indian River Week in October
    • 9/9 - 10/22 - Linger A While Exhibit at the Cuffee Library
    • Need Volunteers
    • Conservation Landscaping
Upcoming Events

Bi-monthly Meeting: Monarch Butterflies

Date: Thursday, September 15, 7 pm

Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive

We will start our fall season with a presentation from the Butterfly Society's Karen and Steve McCurdy.  They will be talking about Monarch Butterflies, which we should be seeing in our gardens around now.   They'll bring along some live caterpillars as part of their demonstration.

We'll also have the latest community news and updates!

International Coastal Cleanup by Canoe/Kayak

Date: Saturday, September 17, 12 pm to 3 pm

Location: On the Indian River, see below

This is a "Bring Your Own Boat" event.  If you plan to participate, it is important to let us know so that we can plan appropriately and provide additional information on logistics and where we will gather.  

If you have a boat but nowhere to put in along the river, contact us to make arrangements on where to put in.  If you'd like to participate but have no boat, contact us as we may have a limited number of extra spots on other boats.  Contact us at info@friendsofindianriver.org

If you are participating with our group, review and complete the online safety release form at least one day before the event: https://forms.gle/J3sXGzT1P65rp3ZN8

Chesapeake Conservation Conference and 39th Annual Environmental Awards Luncheon

Date: Thursday, October 6, 9 am to 2 pm

Location: Chesapeake Conference Center, tickets required

After a two-year break, the Chesapeake Conservation Conference and 39th Annual Environmental Awards are back this October.  The Conference will be in the morning and focus on Urban Forestry with a panel discussion by local Urban Foresters and a presentation on Building Resiliency with Green Infrastructure.  

After the morning sessions, the Environmental Awards Luncheon will honor local individuals, community groups, schools, and businesses for their outstanding environmental projects.  Karen Firehock from the Green Infrastructure Center will deliver the keynote address “Can the Urban Forest Help Us Adapt to a Changing Climate?”

The Friends of Indian River will be receiving the Adult Community Organization Award during the Awards Luncheon.  

Tickets for the Conference and Luncheon are $50; the Luncheon only is $35.  There are also sponsorship opportunities.   Registration closes 9/15.  Learn more and register at https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/conservationconference



Please see and share our fall events poster - click for larger image




Indian River Week

We're still planning to celebrate our community during the week of October 14th for our first ever Indian River Week.

- On Saturday, October 15, the Friends of Indian River will host a History Walk around Norfolk Highlands and Oaklette to talk about the rich history of the area.
- On Saturday, October 22, we'll be doing our quarterly cleanup along Indian River Road, around the Indian River Oaklette Bridge, and the future Blue Heron Landing Park.   We'll also have a team doing any necessary gardening around the new landscaping at the bridge.  

It is also Chesapeake Restaurant Week and we expect some of our local eateries to be highlighting their menu during this annual event.  If you are a restaurant wanting to sign up for restaurant week, visit  https://www.visitchesapeake.com/crwinfo/ for details.

Do you have an event going on in our area from October 14 to 22?  Let us know and we'd love to help advertise it.  

Linger a While: The Art of Ken Wright

From 9/9 through 10/22, the Cuffee Outreach and Innovation Library at 2726 Border Rd, will have an exhibition by a nationally acclaimed artist whose work hung in the White House under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  Learn more at https://chesapeakelibrary.libnet.info/event/7059857

Need Volunteers

We need volunteers to help with weeding at the new landscaping at the Oaklette Indian River Bridge and at the native plant garden at Indian River Park.   We also need volunteers to help with removing invasive plants at the Park.  There are also other volunteer opportunities listed on our website at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/volunteer.html.  If you can help out on any of these, please contact us at info@friendsofindianriver.org

Conservation Landscaping

Interested in improving the natural value of your property?  Would you like to add beauty while helping the environment?  The Elizabeth River Project is still offering matching funding for installing living shorelines (up to $5000), buffers (up to $2000), or maybe a Rain Garden (up to $2000). The Friends of Indian River has limited funds to kick in up to another $250 toward these projects in the Indian River section of Chesapeake.  Learn more at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/conservation-landscaping-program.html

We always encourage you as an individual to pick up any stray litter that you come across along our roads, parking lots, and in our parks.  Every piece of trash collected is one less that causes harm to wildlife in our natural areas and waterways.  And just as important, reduce your use of single use packaging to not create litter in the fir

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Summer Newsletter

 Happy Summer!

  • Upcoming Events
    • 7/9 Saturday - Second Saturday Hike at Indian River Park - CANCELLED
  • News
    • Chesapeake 2022-2023 Capital Improvement Budget
    • Indian River Small Area Plan - next steps
    • Indian River Week planned for October
  • Get Involved
    • Fall Events Preview
    • Need Volunteers
    • June Accomplishments
    • Conservation Landscaping
Upcoming Events


Second Saturday Hike at Indian River Park

Date: Saturday, July 9, CANCELLED





News

Chesapeake 2022-2023 Capital Improvement Budget

The City's new fiscal year started on July 1.  Some highlights affecting our area:
  • #50-270 Indian River Road Design Guidelines Manual and Overlay District - for the Planning Department to create a commercial overlay district and guidelines manual for Indian River Road that defines elements such as building height and form, placemaking, land use, and landscaping to guide redevelopment in this corridor.  Based on the Indian River Planning Area Study, it should include specific actions and policies to create the desired sense of place for the community.  $175K in FY2023
  • #40-270 Indian River Road Redesign - Redesigning Indian River Road to improve safety by adding bicycle lands and reducing speed limit along roadway while keeping appropriate capacity for automotive traffic.  Based on the current number of vehicles per day that travel on road, Indian River Road is overbuilt and encourages speeding that makes walking along sidewalks and biking along road hazardous and has resulted in severe accidents.  Calming traffic along this, our "Main Street" should help develop a sense of place and encourage Indian River to become a destination rather than someplace to speed through.  $110K in FY2023
  • #42-270 - Streetscaping and Landscaping of Various Gateway Corridors - This project funds landscaping and streetscaping at various gateway corridors across the City to highlight the entrances to the City, instill pride in residents and contribute to the goal of making Chesapeake an Exceptional Place.  While this funding is not earmarked just for our area, the Indian River Planning Area Study has specific actions for implementing streetscaping along Indian River Road, which could be addressed with this funding.  $300K in FY 2023
Just approved after passage of the Virginia State Budget
  • #72-270 Pool at Cuffee Community Center - funding for the design, engineering and building initial infrastructure for the City's first recreational pool at the Cuffee Center in Campostella.  $9M in FY 2023; additional $11M will be required in future years for complete buildout.
  • #75-270 Indian River Middle School Modernization - This project includes the modernization of the main building as well as the Chesapeake Center for Student Success (CCSS) annex building. This will provide additional permanent classroom space to house all Indian River Middle School students in the main building and allow CCSS to utilize the entire annex building.  $5.1M in FY 2023
Continued funding for existing projects includes
  • #15-240 Blue Heron Landing Park on the Indian River - this project builds out the new park with a restored shoreline, canoe and kayak launch, and boardwalk adjacent to Indian River Oaklette Bridge.  Request for Proposals for construction have been issued.  Additional $300K allocated in FY2023.
  • #56-230 Oaklette Bridge (Indian River Road) Rehabilitation - this project funds the repair of the bridge as part of VDOT State of Good Repair Program.  Work is slated to occur in 2022.  $5.1M allocated in prior years.
Some additional projects to highlight
  • 20-270 (Parks) Master Plan Update. $200K in 2023
  • 58-250 Citywide Trails and Open Space Connectivity Plan, $188K in 2023
  • 61-270 Providence Road Crossing (Culvert) Replacement, $1.4M in 2023
  • 52-250 Norfolk Highlands Drainage Improvements: additional $600K in 2023
  • 65-230 Philmont Avenue Septic System Disconnect (installing City sanitary sewer on Philmont Avenue in Norfolk Highlands); $450K in 2023
  • 12-260 Residential Traffic Calming Program, Citywide, $100K per year
  • 26-220 Citywide Sidewalk Installation, $800K in 2023 
  • 03-160 Citywide Stormwater Outfall (out flow to river) Regrading and Restoration; includes Hazel Court
  • 05-260 Broadlawn Apartments (in Campostella area) Stormwater Outfall Improvements; starts in 2024
  • 01-270 Water Tank Rehabilitation; include Norfolk Highlands tower; was separate project now rolled into Citywide project item
Indian River Plan

Some of us from the Friends of Indian River met with staff from the Planning Department in late July to discuss the status of efforts for the Indian River Planning Area Study.  In addition to the funding approved above, a key next step is to set up a Steering Committee with representatives from various City agencies including Planning, Public Works, Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, and community stakeholders.   Staff turnover in the Planning Department - the lead contact for the Plan left - has slowed down setting this up, but we hope to get back on track by this fall.  In the meantime, we have reached out to Public Works about plans for new streetscaping!

Indian River Week

We're hoping to coordinate with partners across the community to do something new this fall - organize an Indian River Week of events in the fall.  Details are still being hammered out, but the basic idea is to coordinate various local events during a week of October (tentatively the 3rd week) to highlight various aspects of our community.   The Friends are planning a History Walk and a Cleanup.  The 3rd week in October is also Restaurant Week.  We in conversation for some other exciting events, so stay tuned for more info.  And if you have an event idea or want to help with planning, please reach out to us at info@friendsofindianriver.org




Get Involved 

Need Volunteers

We need volunteers this summer to help with weeding at the new landscaping at the Oaklette Indian River Bridge and at the native plant garden at Indian River Park.   We also need volunteers to help with removing invasive plants at the Park.  There are also other volunteer opportunities listed on our website at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/volunteer.html.  If you can help out on any of these, please contact us at info@friendsofindianriver.org

Fall Schedule Preview
  • No Second Saturday Hikes in August, September, or October
  • Thursday, September 15, 7 pm - Bi-Monthly Meeting
  • Saturday, September 17, 1 pm - International Coastal Cleanup
  • Saturday, October 15, 1 pm - History Walk in Norfolk Highlands and Oaklette
  • TBD - Indian River Week
  • Saturday, October 22, 9 am - Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road
  • Saturday, November 12, 9 am - Second Saturday Hike 
  • Thursday, November 17, 7 pm - Bi-Monthly Meeting
  • Saturday, November 19, 9 am - Adopt-A-Park at Indian River Park 
  • Saturday, December 10, 9 am - Second Saturday Hike 
  • Thursday, December 15, 7 pm - Holiday Party
* dates subject to change

June Accomplishments

At the beginning of the month, we had a very successful Clean The Bay Day at Indian River Park.  37 volunteers of all ages pulled out nearly 1000 lbs. of debris from the park and river floodplain on the west side of the park.  We've never done a cleanup on this side of the park and the area we hit probably had 20 years of trash accumulated.   Many thanks to our host and partner Southern Auto Group Volkswagen and to the many volunteers who came out including a team from FedEx Ground.

We held an evening Second Saturday Hike at Indian River Park where we spied various wildlife including a Box Turtle about to lay her eggs just off the trail, multiple Eastern Cottontail rabbits, and Pearly-eye Butterflies.   Yarrow and Lizard's Tails were in bloom in the park.

In what we hope is a new tradition, we had a delicious group picnic instead of our regular June meeting.  This was a great opportunity to get together and social; our main entree was catered from one of our new local eateries TenderMacs - chicken tenders, zucchini tenders, and, of course, their delicious mac-n-cheese.  This was also a chance to celebrate the Friends of Indian River's 10th Anniversary.  It was in 2012 that we called our first meeting and we're proud of all we've accomplished since.

We closed out the month with another cleanup along Indian River Road from Wingfield to Sparrow including around the bridge and future Blue Heron Landing Park.  We collected about 150 lbs. of litter and a few larger items including, of all things, a toilet.  




Conservation Landscaping

Interested in improving the natural value of your property?  Would you like to add beauty while helping the environment?  The Elizabeth River Project is still offering matching funding for installing living shorelines (up to $5000), buffers (up to $2000), or maybe a Rain Garden (up to $2000). The Friends of Indian River has limited funds to kick in up to another $250 toward these projects in the Indian River section of Chesapeake.  Learn more at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/conservation-landscaping-program.html

We always encourage you as an individual to pick up any stray litter that you come across along our roads, parking lots, and in our parks.  Every piece of trash collected is one less that causes harm to wildlife in our natural areas and waterways.  And just as important, reduce your use of single use packaging to not create litter in the first place.  Take The Pledge to keep Virginia Litter Free at https://loversnotlitter.org/pledge/


Thursday, May 26, 2022

June Newsletter and Events

 The days are getting longer, the weather is getting hotter, and the Friends are wrapping up spring with a number of great events in June starting with Clean the Bay Day on June 4th.  

  • Upcoming Events
    • 6/4 Saturday - Clean the Bay Day Event at Indian River Park 
    • 6/11 Saturday - Second Saturday EVENING Hike at Indian River Park
    • 6/16 Thursday - Spring Picnic 
    • 6/18 Saturday - Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road
  • Other News
    •  Chesapeake Capital Improvement Budget approved in May
  • Get Involved
    • Conservation Landscaping

Upcoming Events

Clean the Bay Day 

Date: Saturday, June 4, 9 am
Location: Indian River Park at Southern Volkswagen off Paramont Avenue.

This year we are partnering with Southern Volkswagen to clean up the west side of Indian River Park for Clean the Bay Day.  The focus will be floodplain and forest edge along the Volkswagen dealership and down to Military Highway.    This area has been neglected for a long time and needs a lot of love; this will actually be the second half of a cleanup started earlier this spring.  

Sign up at https://forms.gle/kWifnY2nbaE4vJ4F6 and we'll update with parking directions as the date gets nearer.  

Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves. We also always encourage folks to bring their own water in reusable bottles to minimize use of plastic bottles. Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.

Second Saturday EVENING Hike at Indian River Park

Date: 
Saturday, June 11, 6 pm to 8 pm

Location: Meet at the Indian River Park entrance at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2001 Rokeby Ave.) which is located just south of Military Highway, i.e. across Military Highway from the Fire Station.

With summer solstice approaching, we'll change things up for our Second Saturday hike in June and do an evening hike starting at 6 pm.

Learn about the history of the park, the native trees and plants in this century old forest on the Indian River flood plain, and its value to maintaining the health of local butterfly, bird, and wildlife populations. Note: the forest trail has uneven surfaces and minor elevation changes.

To speed up registration and improve social distancing, please pre-register online at https://forms.gle/xN3UdDvi1WMd24fq9

Spring Evening Potluck Picnic

Picnic do Bruno | Michell Zappa | Flickr
Date: Thursday, June 16, 6 pm to 8 pm (come out anytime during the event)

Location: Picnic Pavilion behind Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive; park in side lot along St. Lawrence Dr.

Rather than our usual monthly meeting, in June we'll have a potluck picnic out behind the church.   This will also be the 10-year anniversary of the founding of the Friends of Indian River so we'll celebrate that also!

Bring a dish to share and join us for some camaraderie as we roll into summer.  The Friends will set out tables and chairs, provide a main protein dish (likely chicken).  We suggest bringing a comfy lawn chair.

In the event of rain, we will move the event inside the church's fellowship hall, however, in this case ONLY restaurant purchased or pre-packaged food from a store is permitted to be consumed inside.  

To help coordinate who is bringing what, we set up a Sign Up Genius form at 

Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road

Date: Saturday, June 18, 9 am

Location: Meet at Lilac Avenue and Indian River Road.  Park along Lilac Avenue by the Norfolk Highlands Primary School.  It is a No Parking zone along Oleander Avenue (parallel to Indian River Road).

We need your help for our quarterly cleanup.   Join us for a few hours to clean up the mile of Indian River Road from the city limits at Wingfield Avenue all the way to MacDonald Road. We are also asking all business owners along Indian River Road - and everywhere really - to make sure they sweep up in front of their storefronts as part of the effort.   And if you can't make it out for our organized cleanup please take 15 minutes and cleanup the street and ditches in front of your home; pass the word to your neighbors!

For our main cleanup on Indian River Road, the city will provide garbage bags and orange safety vests.  One focus will be the area around the Bridge and the future Blue Heron Landing Park. Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves and other items that may be useful.  Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.

To save time and allow for better social distancing, please pre-register at https://forms.gle/ypFBfAn7N1crjj2R7


Other News

Capital Improvement Budget

In May the City Council approved the City's 2022-2023 Capital Improvement Budget.   This included funding for key programs to kickstart the initiatives defined in the Indian River Planning Area Study approved at the end of last year. These include funding for development of an Indian River Road Design Guidelines Manual and Overlay District, the first phase of the Indian River Road Redesign, Enhanced Signage & Landscaping at Entrances to the City, and multiple other projects that affect our community.  

We thank the City Council for approving the funding to meet the strategic goals of making our City economically strong, culturally diverse, and environmentally responsible. Within the Indian River area, we look forward to partnering with the City in building a safe, well-connected community of vibrant residential neighborhoods with a thriving "Main Street" and strong commercial areas.   See additional details at https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofIndianRiver/posts/5336999803031994

Get Involved

Conservation Landscaping

Interested in improving the natural value of your property?  Would you like to add beauty while helping the environment?  The Elizabeth River Project is still offering matching funding for installing living shorelines (up to $5000), buffers (up to $2000), or maybe a Rain Garden (up to $2000). The Friends of Indian River has limited funds to kick in up to another $250 toward these projects in the Indian River section of Chesapeake.  Learn more at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/conservation-landscaping-program.html

Thank you to the many volunteers who came out for our volunteer events in in the last couple of months including at the Native Plant Garden at Indian River Park, Dollar Tree employees coming out for Earth Day to do invasive plant removal at Indian River Park, and for our quarterly Adopt-A-Road Cleanup.

We always encourage you as an individual to pick up any stray litter that you come across along our roads, parking lots, and in our parks.  Every piece of trash collected is one less that causes harm to wildlife in our natural areas and waterways.  And just as important, reduce your use of single use packaging to not create litter in the first place.  Take The Pledge to keep Virginia Litter Free at https://loversnotlitter.org/pledge/