Friday, November 29, 2019

December Newsletter and Events

In this month's issue, we have:

  • “Main Street” Indian River Holiday Lighting and Decoration Contest
  • Annual Holiday Party and Volunteer Appreciation, Thursday, 12/19
  • Other News
    •     Chesapeake Town Meeting, Tuesday, 12/3
    •     Norfolk Highlands Civic League, Thursday, 12/5
    •     Rokeby Garden Club Cookie Exchange, Wednesday, 12/18
    •     Conservation Landscaping Funding
    •     Indian River Small Area Plan Kickoff
    •     and more ....

“Main Street” Indian River Holiday Lighting and Decoration Contest

The Friends of Indian River are sponsoring a "Main Street" Indian River Holiday Lighting and Decoration Contest. Contest is open to all businesses along Indian River Rd from Oaklette Bridge to Military Highway and along Sparrow Road from Nautilus Ave. to Fontana Ave. To participate, just decorate your storefront!

Judging will be between 3 pm and 7 pm on Monday, Dec 9 and based on overall appearance, festiveness, and appropriateness for site. Top 3 winners will be announced at the Friends of Indian River Volunteer Recognition and Holiday Party on Thursday, Dec 19. Winners will receive $50 prize money and be recognized in our newsletter and social media channels.

Adopt-A-Park Volunteer Work Day (Invasives/English Ivy Removal)

Date: Saturday, December 14 Cancelled Due to Rain
9 am to Noon
Meet at the park entrance at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2001 Rokeby Ave.)

We'll be working on invasive plant removal, particularly English Ivy.   Come help us control this scourge. The more volunteers that come out, the more that we can accomplish! 

Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves. Bring pruning clippers, loppers, screwdrivers (which are amazingly useful in prying ivy off tree trunks) and/or pruning saws if you have them.  We will have water and lots of snacks. (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

Annual Holiday Party and Volunteer Appreciation

Date: Thursday, December 19, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

This will be our end of year celebration to recognize our many accomplishments, recognize our volunteers, and socialize. Please bring a desert or appetizer to share and join the festivities. 

We'll have a silent auction, so you can finish some Christmas shopping too. 

Please also consider bringing a donation of non-perishable food items for the Oaklette United Methodist Church food pantry to the meeting this evening. 

Even if you have not been to a meeting in a while or if this would be your very first meeting, we encourage you to come out and partake in the merriment.

First Day Hike

Date: Tuesday, January 1st, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Meet at the park entrance at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2001 Rokeby Ave.)

Join us for our New Year's Day tradition to explore Indian River Park and its century old forest on the Indian River flood plain.  Learn about the history of the park, its native trees, 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. 

Other News

The next Chesapeake Town Meeting will be on Tuesday, December 3, 7 PM to 8:30 pm at Indian River High School, 1969 Braves Trail.  Town meetings are an opportunity for residents to meet and discuss topics with City Council members and City Staff.  City Staff will set up different stations and citizens can meet and discuss whatever areas they wish to touch upon. They will either directly answer questions or gather information for a follow-up response.  City Council members will also be in attendance to answer questions and discuss concerns one-to-one with citizens.  Meetings last for 90 minutes and citizens may come at any point during that time that is convenient for their schedule.   All topics discussed at the Town Meetings will be logged and a summary of issues and responses posted to the City website following the meeting.  Learn more at

Norfolk Highlands Civic League will meet on Thursday, December 5, 7 pm at the Indian River Baptist Church.  Key topic will be elections and approval of updated bylaws.

 Rokeby Garden Club is celebrating the holidays with an old fashioned cookie exchange on Wednesday, Dec 18, 1 pm.  Bring one or two dozen cookies or another desert with the recipe written on an index card.  Sample or take home the same number of cookies you bring. Other healthy refreshments will be provided by the Rokeby Center. Boxes for take home cookies will be provided.   They will also have mini make and take class on bow making, scented pinecones, and seed balls (to plant in spring).  No registration is required to attend; for residents "55 and better" who love plants and gardening. For more information call or visit the Rokeby Center at 757-822-6259.

The Elizabeth River Project has several programs to help home owners upgrade their yards to become better stewards of a healthy environment. And now in the Indian River area of Chesapeake, the Friends of Indian River is stepping up to provide a little extra funding support for such projects to create rain gardens, vegetated shoreline buffers, and living shorelines. See the flier below for more info, visit
or contact us at

In November, representatives from the Friends of Indian River and the Norfolk Highlands Civic League met with the Chesapeake Planning Department to kickoff work to create and Indian River Small Area Plan.  This will create a detailed planning document to define the vision for what we want our community to look like over the next 5 to 20 years.  This information will factor into the City's Comprehensive Plan and impact spending and development decisions.  In these initial meetings with the consultants who will be working on the plan, we provided them with a tour of the community - the good, the bad, and the ugly - and shared our vision for building a stronger community including a revitalized "Downtown Indian River", more connectivity to park and green spaces, and a healthier, cleaner environment for everyone.  They are now preparing a public engagement plan that we expect will include public input meetings starting in January.  We will share more information as we get it.

Thank you to the 8 volunteers who came out in November for the Adopt-A-Road cleanup along Indian River Road. In a couple of hours they collected about 8 medium sized bags along the street from the bridge to MacDonald Road, and then another 8 big bags under and around the bridge - about 300 lbs total.

Now is a great time to become a member or renew your membership, or just make a donation online at

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