City wants community to spray paint vacant building in Denbigh before the weekend

Posted at 6:01 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 18:33:14-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The spray can on the pavement and graffiti-style art on the wall is all part of the city’s plan to turn something that is abandoned into a canvas for the community.

Karen Ness took the orange spray bottle and painted a memorial for her dog, Kip.

“He was in my life for 12 and a half years. This is one last goodbye,” says Ness.

It’s also a final goodbye to the old Kmart in Denbigh.

“This is a celebration. You don’t often celebrate taking something out that’s been around for a while,” said Florence Kingston. She is the Director of Development for the City of Newport News.

The Kmart locked its doors in 2014. Since then, it’s been vacant - an eyesore to the community.

“Over time something is empty, it seems to go downhill and starts looking bad,” said Maggie Beddall. She’s lived in the area for almost four decades.

The city says the plans for this vacant space are going to be beautiful, but before they demolish the building this weekend they want you to grab your spray paint and tag it. 

City leaders say for the next five years the space will be in its transitional phase. It will be a community site for a farmers market, car shows and pop-up events.

Ness says, “Anything that brings people together, that’s positive.”

And later on down the line: A mixed-use space.

“Job creation, mixed use of some residential. A lot of what we see here at City Center and Oyster Point,” says Kingston.

But until then, it’s the only chance you’ll get to mark up private property and not get in trouble.

The Transforming Denbigh event is on Saturday, February 1 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more information on the event, click here.