Daily Press from Newport News, Virginia on October 9, 1984 · Page 14
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Daily Press from Newport News, Virginia · Page 14

Newport News, Virginia
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 9, 1984
Page 14
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B2 Daily Press, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 1984 Promoter hopes for big time with amphitheater By BOB EVANS Staff Writer NEW KENT The man behind the proposed 20,000-spectator cultural arts amphitheater near Bottoms Bridge is a self-described entrepreneur with years of experience in small businesses and promotions. . Now, Rich Landrum is looking to make the big time with a multimillion-dollar entertainment facility he hopes will draw big-name entertainers. "I've been an entrepreneur for the past five years," the lanky 38-year-old says, adding that some of his ventures "were successful, some weren't. But that's the risk you take." Landrum is president of R. L. Enterprises of Virginia Inc. and spokesman for a limited partnership planning Forest Ridge Park for the Performing Arts near. Route 613. He's also had a lot of other jobs during the past 15 years in Richmond: gift shop owner, partner in a security com- Diocese tries again for rezoning By RAY BETZNER Staff Writer YORK The Episcopal Church's Diocese of Southern Virginia is returning to the county Planning Commission in a second attempt at getting a housing project for the elderly approved for the Big Bethel Road area. The project will be discussed at the county Planning Commission meeting at 7 tonight in the county courthouse. The diocese owns about 10 acres in the area east of Tabb. It first went to the Planning Commission in April requesting that the land be rezoned from rural residential to a planned unit development. The commission agreed there was a need in the county for housing for the elderly, but it voted against the application because it violated the county land use plan. Now, the diocese is requesting a rezoning to R4, a multifa-mily designation intended for high-density developments like apartments and townhouses. If anything, the county planning staff found the second application in even greater violation of the land use plan. In their report to the commission, county planners said the first request was limited to 80 units, but under R4 zoning, the church could put up 126 apartments or 102 townhouses. i Such a development could "adversely affect the current and future development of the surrounding area," the planning staff said. ' However, the staff conclusions have not deterred the church's plans, said the Rev. Claude Turner Jr., rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Yorktown. A portion of the diocese's land next to the proposed senior citizens housing development has been set aside for a new church, Turner said, i The diocese withdrew its last application after the negative Planning Commission vote but before the matter got to county supervisors. Turner said that even if the commission rejected the plan again, the diocese would send the application to the supervisors. pany, popular music show promoter at clubs and theaters, fund-raising consultant, men's clothing store salesman and broadcast commercial announcer. But, during the last two years, Landrum says he's spent most of his time planning the amphitheater while working at some of these jobs part time. He says he and several others in the limited partnership have commitments for about half of the estimated $3 million to $4 million needed to open the amphitheater by the spring. A Tidewater developer with more experience and money is negotiating with him to supply the rest of the money. While he would not identify any of his financial investors except Richmond real estate agent Shade Wilson, he said the identity of the Tidewater person might be revealed by the end of this week. Although he has lost considerable weight since the days when he appeared regularly on television, fans of professional wrestling might recognize Landrum as the weekly announcer of televised bouts from Charlotte (N.C.) Coliseum, the Arena in Richmond and other regional wrestling sites. Others might recall seeing him on Channel 8, WXEX, in Richmond. Station officials say he was there from 1967 to 1969, working his way up from the photography department to reporter and then announcer for morning news and audience participation shows such as "Dialing for Dollars." Before television, Landrum says he "lied about my age to get a job" at age 15 as a reporter for radio station WLEE, then Richmond's most popular Top 40-format AM station. "I was doing anything to get into radio at the time," he says, and "anything" included record hops and mobile news broadcasts. It was then that he teamed with another radio announcer to promote several rhythm-and-blues shows at what was to become the Empire Theater, he says. Those shows featured such groups as Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, the latter before his popularity grew. After leaving television "because I wasn't sure that's what I wanted to do anymore," Landrum and his first wife opened a gift shop in Richmond, and : then with a friend managed Metro Richmond Security Services, doing retail store security and some private investigative work until about 1979. During that time he also began working the wrestling shows. He filed for personal bankruptcy in 1976 "after a very lengthy divorce" settlement, he says. Despite that financial setback, Landrum says he has been able to work primarily on the amphitheater project because "unlike most people, I invested my money from wrestling wisely" in real estate and other ventures after the bankruptcy. He says he owns land in Essex County and Richmond. Working with wrestling promoter Jimmy Crocket and music promoters during the late 1960s and 1970s taught him how to put shows together and gave him the idea for Forest Ridge Park, Landrum says. Wrestling is "60 percent wrestling and 40 percent show," and "if you keep your mouth shut and your ears open" you can learn the entertainment business, he says. That knowledge, and the belief there is an untapped market for a large facility in the Richmond area that provides acceptable acoustics for music, led him to plan for the amphitheater, he says. He says the amphitheater, if built, probably would be operated on weekends and evenings from spring to early fall, featuring music ranging from pop performers like Linda Ronstadt and the Marshall Tucker Band to the Richmond and Petersburg symphonies. He says he would not book hard rock acts. Speakers: Youths can't learn from classroom alone ; ! GREEK . 'A J f , t' Z Iff " kl - it 7 ' I ' t -"" . . , " " ' , -A - -r . -iv;- s ! - . t. v u v " - -- - - - r 3 1 ' ' , ' - . - . . v " , U t - m . ' " - ' - . V . . Roll out the holly Staff photo by TINA BROWN Donnie Toms (left), farm manager at Fid- Coast. The tree was planted Friday at Fiddler's Green, and David Meador, berry dler's Green Farm near Gloucester Court manager, plant the first English holly tree House. A total of 525 will be planted at on Friday in what is expected to be the the farm this fall. The orchard will cover only commercial holly orchard on the East about Vh to 4 acres. By KURT BEGALKA Staff Writer NORFOLK Schools alone cannot bear the entire responsibility for educating our children. . That was the thrust of a keynote address by Vincent D. Reed, vice president for communications at The Washington Post, and the premise behind a three-day conference entitled "Building a Learning Society: the Answer to a Nation at Risk." Reed opened the conference Monday morning at Chrysler Hall with a call for unity and cooperation between schools and the private sector. Reed, former U.S. assistant secretary of education and superintendent of District of Columbia schools, urged educators to work with the business community. They can contribute more than money, he said. They can contribute expertise. Reed said a report entitled "A Nation At Risk" by the President's Commission on Excellence in Education has raised many questions since its release in April 1983. "It's a sad commentary when people come out of the 12th grade reading at the eighth-grade level," Reed said. He said 30 million American adults are not capable of reading a newspaper. "We know we have to take a good look at what is happening in our schools," Reed said. "We owe it to our young people to expect them to learn." ; In 1975, Reed took over the Washington, D.C., school system, which had eight superintendents in 12 years. "It spelled doom as soon as you took over that chair," he said. As superintendent, Reed administered 130,000 students and 7,600 teachers for five years. Sound administrators are a key to improving education, he said. Reed said one-third of all Americans are involved in education, either as students or employees. Last year the federal government spent $118 billion to educate 41 million youngsters kindergarten through ; high school in the 16,000 school districts, he added. But money is not the total solution. A subsequent panel discussion called on parents to parent. Katharine Kersey, professor of education and director of early childhood education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, said 10 million U.S. children are "latch-key children," without adult supervision. Rising divorce rates, family mobility and a fluctuating economy have contributed to this phenomenon, which leaves psychological and physical scars, she said. One out of every 10 school children is abused in some fashion and every four hours one of them dies because of it, she added. . Schools have been called upon to meet a student's physical or emotional needs before learning even can begin, she said. Schools don't have the financial and human resources to educate and parent. To make the school-parent partnership , easier, panelist Lawrence Senesh suggested forming a Citizens' Alliance, composed of educators, business professionals and community representatives. Senesh, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado and co-president of the Academy of Independent Scholars, said such a group would work to ease communication in education. In the rush for basic skills, values such as honesty and compassion for other people frequently are overlooked, Senesh said. A citizens' group could help teach these things outside the classroom. "To build a learning society is not a honeymoon," Senesh cautioned. "People are afraid of new ideas. They are afraid of rocking the boat. They are afraid of waking sleeping dogs. This is one reason why we have so many sleeping dogs in the United States." About 300 people from all walks of life are attending the conference, said Albert L. Ayars, conference director and former superintendent of schools in Norfolk, Parking woes to plague city soon, study says By MARK WHITE Staff Writer HAMPTON Two areas of Old Hampton do not have enough parking, and proposed developments might cause a parking shortage soon for all of downtown, a study says. The two problem areas are the court buildings along Kings Way and the retail area along Queens Way, Sandra M. Weir, a city planner, told the Planning Commission on Monday. Preliminary findings of a recent Planning Department study show that many people have to walk more than 500 feet from their parking places to get to those two areas, she said. The busiest parking area in Old Hampton is the Fishman Arcade parking lot at the east end of Queens Way, Ms. Weir said. Merchants and property owners Ihave contended for years that 'limited parking hurts business rat that end of the mall. ' Not including its residential ! areas, )ld Hampton lyis about 2,900 parking spaces, more than half of which are owned by the city. That is enough to meet the overall parking demand downtown for right now, but there could be problems soon, Ms.; Weir said. The city has considered building a parking garage downtown. The most recent proposal is that it build one next to the William Claiborne Building in conjunction with a proposed waterfront hotel. City officials will work together to find out if minor adjustments would alleviate some parking problems, Ms. Weir said. She said she will report to the Planning Commission again Nov. 12 with more information from the parking study and with recommendations for meeting Old Hampton's parking demand. In other matters, the commission: Recommended City Council not approve two rezonings that would allow townhouses to be built on Butler Farm Road and in Phoebus near Libby Street. Asked the Planning Department staff to draft a special zoning law for the 300-acre Hampton Roads Industrial Center. Endorsed two rezonings in the Magruder Boulevard industrial park that would allow a fire-truck manufacturing plant and an officewarehouse complex to be started before the special zoning law takes effect. Endorsed a proposal to allow offices, data processing centers and limited retail business in areas zoned for heavy manufacturing. Opposed a proposal that would have required such new industrial plants as lumber yards, sand and gravel storage areas and asphalt and cement plants to get a use permit from City Council before being built in areas zoned for heavy manufacturing. Asked the Planning De partment to have a report ready for the Jan. 14 commission meeting on a request by some residents to close the Bridge Street bridge in Old Hampton to vehicles. . Discussed the problem of houses being built on lots as narrow as 35 feet. Big Bethel widening near, officials say By MARK WHITE Staff Writer HAMPTON A section of Big Bethel Road that is in the midst of a housing boom might be widened in the next few years, city officials believe. Turning the two-lane section from Interstate 64 to the York County line into a four-lane road has been in the city's plans for years, but the state Highway Department never has included the project in its six-year plan. The city hopes a recent decision at the federal level will change that, however. Federal highway officials have indicated recently they will provide more money for work related to the East-West Expressway than originally anticipated, according to Horace L. Copeland Jr., an assistant city manager. That move means the state would have to spend less on the expressway and would have more money available for the Big Bethel widening, he says. At its next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall, City Council is scheduled to yote on a resolution asking the state to include the Big Bethel widening in its six-year highway plan. If the state agrees, it would probably mean that section of the road would be built somewhere around the end of this decade, Copeland says. Work is slated to start next year and be completed in 1987 on the first segment of the East-West Expressway, which will run from Big Bethel Road to Magruder Boulevard. Part of that first segment involves widening Big Bethel from Interstate 64 south to where the road now widens to four lanes near Bethel High School. Also included is a redesign of the Big Bethel-Thomas Nelson Drive intersection. The proposed resolution is likely to be approved by council without opposition, but a related matter to be considered at the meeting is more controversial. It is a proposed development of 600 homes near Bethel High and the related, controversial issue of extending Farmington Boulevard to the north..

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