VIRGINIA BEACH — Mary Sydney Black has long been a passionate supporter of open space at the Oceanfront.
In the 1980s, she served on a committee that pushed back against development on 24th Street and raised funds to help create a public park there. Now, decades later, she’s channeling that same energy into Rudee Loop.
“We don’t want any development down here,” Black told several consultants with Norfolk-based Work Program Architects Friday morning on the Boardwalk at Second Street.
The firm is collecting feedback from residents, businesses and visitors about the future of the undeveloped land at the south end of the resort area adjacent to Rudee Inlet. A report will be presented to the City Council at a later date.
Last summer, the city requested conceptual proposals for 6.2 acres of Rudee Loop. Four are being considered. Bruce Smith Enterprises, Gold Key | PHR, Virginia Gentlemen Foundation and Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation each have submitted plans for public park space with amenities for surfers and fishermen. Two of the proposals also feature hotel and residential components.
On Friday morning, despite the cold, several surfers caught waves near the jetty, and people walked their dogs on the Boardwalk. Some of them stopped by the Rudee Loop display, which included aerial photographs of the land, documents featuring the four proposals and handwritten notes from people who shared their thoughts with the consultants.
“Keep accessible parking for locals and surfers,” and “a place for surfers to change for surfing,” were among some of the comments.
Lesney Miller and her friend Leanne Wood drive to Rudee Inlet nearly every morning to check the waves and to walk on the Boardwalk. Miller, 73, is a lifelong Virginia Beach resident who grew up “surfing with the boys,” she said.
Miller told the consultants that she hopes the city can figure out how to keep Rudee Loop “as it is.”
“We do not need more hotels,” she said, gesturing down the length of the Boardwalk. “We’ve got enough of those.”
Another in-person public input session on Rudee Loop will be held 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday at Kempsville Recreation Center, 800 Monmouth Lane.
Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, email@example.com