Group worried about potential development at City Farm in Newport News

Posted at 1:33 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-13 17:38:49-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A group called Citizens for Riverview Park will speak at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

The group is in favor of City Farm becoming a public park, along with neighboring Riverview Park. The city closed a jail at City Farm in 2015. "You feel like it's one part of nature in Newport News that we have and we should treasure it," said Adrian Whitcomb, the leader of the group.

A developer called Frye Properties has proposed building around 200 homes at the site, which offers scenic views of the James River. The proposal would include access to the waterfront, according to the company. The company says they will be listening to members of the community if the project moves forward, but so far it's unclear if it will.

Whitcomb says the city shouldn't sell the land now that the jail is closed. "Now [the inmates] are gone, it's time for us in the public to use the area for the park," Whitcomb said.

The proposal was unsolicited and it was presented to city council, but no further action has been taken.

The Citizens for Riverview Park want there to be more public access to waterfronts in the central to northern part of the city.

A master plan for the area that was adopted in 1991 says the property of City Farm should become part of Riverview Farm Park, according to a city spokesperson.