Home page

Visit Our Planning Commission Page for Photos and Videos On the Draft Newport News Comprehensive Plan

Coming soon: A Guide to the views on the future of the City Farm of each candidate for City Council and Mayor


          Comments to Newport News City Council, November 28, 2017 

Good Evening. As I’ve told you before, I’m a native of this city. I’ve lived here most of my life. When I was about two years old my family moved to Tennessee for a short period of time. Instead of selling the house that we owned on Sycamore Avenue, my father leased it out. He leased it to Fields Dance Studio, who actually used it as a dance studio. They still exist but not there. My father soon decided to return to this city for a job, so it wasn’t long before we were back in Newport News. Our house on Sycamore Avenue was still under lease, so in the meantime we had to rent a house in another part of what is now Newport News, on Moore’s Lane.

I’m saying that just to say that’s how I feel about the City Farm. All of the City Farm was made a park, Riverview Farm Park, in 1991. But there was one problem, it was like that lease, part of it was occupied by prisoners, so it was being used by the city for another use at that time. The city anticipated that the prisoners would be moved within just a few years and actually sometime later in the nineties or early two thousands all of that land would be open to the public. What happened was time after time it was delayed until eventually the prisoners were moved out in 2015. So it was similar to the time when the lease was up on my family’s house on Sycamore Avenue.

If you follow what I am saying, you’ll see that it was time in 2015 for the actual owners of the City Farm property to use all of it for the intended purpose. That is all that we are asking, to have what we were given in 1991 and what the citizens of this city have always owned. It’s not something we are asking that’s out of the ordinary and it’s not something unusual. It’s not something that would be harmful to the city as a whole. Matter of fact it would enhance this city as a whole. Like other people have said, it would encourage people to live here, to move here, to stay here, and it would be something good for all of us. It would also enhance your reputation as people of the City Council and the Mayor, that you were the ones who finally said “we’re going to let the real owners of the property actually use it for what it was intended to be used for.” So I ask you to think about that. That’s why we keep coming to City Council.

Thank you,
Adrian Whitcomb
President, Citizens for Riverview Farm Park


Looking for a Place to Sign the Petition to Save the City Farm?


Health Haven, 12452 Warwick Blvd. in the Glendale Shopping Center (across Warwick Blvd. from Hidenwood Shopping Center) now has our Petition. If you have not signed our paper petition, please stop by and do so. More about our petition at http://saveriverviewfarmpark.com/index.php/petition/

Tammy Moore Sumner commented on Citizens for Riverview Farm Park‘s status.
Tammy Moore Sumner
November 16 at 8:24pm
I have a petition out at my office. It is the Herb Garfinkel, State Farm office at Deep Creek and Warwick Blvd. Anyone can stop by and sign


FRONT PAGE News in Daily Press September 24 print edition


The Article is at http://www.dailypress.com/news/newport-news/dp-nws-newport-news-city-farm-developer-20170921-story.html

A few Quotes:

“The persuasion tactic comes in the forms of a personal story, a letter, a threat to vote for someone else, a poem. At every Newport News City Council meeting since last November, people who want to shield 50 acres of City Farm from commercial development and make it a public park have tried different ways to get the city on their side. ‘There is a way to have our cake, And thus for us to eat it too, Instead of selling off this land, A better way pursue,’ read a poem authored by Adrian Whitcomb, president of Citizens for Riverview Farm Park. He read that aloud at an April City Council meeting.”

“‘I realize it is legal and necessary and prudent for the City Council and the development team to meet in closed session to discuss a matter such as this, and I’m sure it is not lost on you that such discussion can lead to suspicion and distrust on the parts of the citizens,’ said resident Patrick M. Wright during a meeting in November.”

“‘I understand that they still want to develop the land, but I can see why they would be hesitant to make too strong of a statement because they probably sense there is a lot of opposition to the development,’ Whitcomb said Friday.”

“Whitcomb’s group has argued that the City Farm parcel, adjacent to the Riverview Farm Park, is one of the last waterfront public parcels left in the city. They’ve repeatedly cited a study done in the early 1990s that said City Farm should be made into a public park. City officials have said that study is too old and needs a fresh look.”

“Now, the dozen people who showed up at every City Council meeting have dwindled to a few. However, the desire to preserve the park has not faded, Whitcomb said. People have been attending meetings about the city’s comprehensive plan to advocate for some green-space preservation of City Farm, he said.”

FRONT PAGE News in Daily Press August 26 print edition

The Article is at http://www.dailypress.com/news/newport-news/dp-nws-newport-news-comprehensive-plan-20170824-story.html

A few Quotes:

“More waterfront access and more green space — those were the most common requests among roughly 100 comments that people submitted after reviewing a document that lays out the city’s major planning policies.”

“Ayers said staff must respond to each public comment about the working draft. Some of the comments about waterfront access and green space are directly related to City Farm, but others are more general, she said.

City Farm has stirred up some public discontent since last November, when a Norfolk-based developer proposed building 205 luxury homes along 50 acres of waterfront land near the site of a former city jail. Since then, residents have attended nearly every City Council meeting to advocate against turning the land over to developers and, instead, make it a public park.”

“The advocates — largely from a group called Citizens for Riverview Farm Park — have pointed to a 1991 city master plan that calls for City Farm to be flipped into a public park.”

There’s more in this article, including a statement that fewer people have spoken at City Council meetings recently. Of course we have been emphasizing the Comprehensive Plan meetings in recent weeks and the turnout of about 60 people at each of the Denbigh Community Center and Brittingham-Midtown Community Center meetings has certainly helped our cause. The video of the Denbigh meeting, at which people were allowed to speak on anything they wanted to, clearly shows where the interest of the people is concerning the City Farm future.

See video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsQKNJJZqHE&list=PLqRorq6CPKT-wlklFEeu67hG9RcV7ZUgc&index=3

There will be more meetings concerning the Comprehensive Plan. The City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing, as well as the City Council. We need to be at all of these meetings and let them know what we want.

See http://saveriverviewfarmpark.com/index.php/one-city-one-future-comprehensive-plan/

for more detailed information concerning the Comprehensive Plan.


You can write comments and send them to

City of Newport News
Department of Planning
Attn: Britta Ayers
City Hall, 2nd Floor
2400 Washington Ave.
Newport News, VA 23607
or by e-mail to comp-plan@nnva.gov

You can view the Draft Comprehensive Plan at


There are some images and comments from the July 17 Comprehensive Plan Open House at http://saveriverviewfarmpark.com/index.php/comprehensive-plan-draft-presentations-july-2017/ Additional comments along with a clearer view of the images are on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/riverviewparkcitizens/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel


A teacher speaks to City Council about the importance of keeping the City Farm as a park:

From City Council Minutes:

Ms. Krista Smeet, an environmental educator that worked for Chesapeake Experience, … had the privilege of exposing thousands of students in the Newport News Public Schools to the wonders of the Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately, she had to take students to York County boat ramps, for the kayacking trips because the Denbigh and Huntington Park Boat Ramps were not environmentally accessible or suitable. When she found out that Riverview Farm could remain as an environmentally accessible location, she was ecstatic. Riverview Farm was an exceptional treasure and opportunity of which citizens should take advantage for environmental education purposes, and to bring the community together. Ms. Smeet envisioned community gardens, picnic areas, walkways, and living shorelines. She urged members of City Council to vote to keep Riverview Farm Park/City Farm as a park and leave the waterfront access to the public.


Letter to the Editor of the Daily Press, June 24, 2017

Resource is Important to All

It’s hard for students to care about a river that isn’t theirs. How can they see it as theirs without access to it? A teacher spoke to City Council about her classes having to travel outside Newport News for access to our waterways (see SaveRiverviewFarmPark.com).

There is no public park along the approximately nine-mile shoreline between Hilton and Lucas Creek. Opening up the City Farm as a park will boost property values, creating an increased tax base, spread out over tens of thousands of homes, without sacrificing the last chance of public waterfront access in this area. Residential real estate is generally a net loss as far as taxes are concerned because of the services that must be provided. Even if half of the property taxes (very unlikely) from the proposed 205 luxury homes could be applied to lower the taxes of the existing 76,900 housing units in this city, it would yield a tax savings per taxpayer in the single digits.

Most of our park acreage is Newport News Park, which is limited in use. You can’t swim in the reservoir or put a motorboat into the water. It is not on a river that leads to the bay. It is located at the extreme end of our city. The City Farm is near the center of our city’s population.

The City Farm has great value as a waterfront park, whether or not it includes a swimming beach, which would not need to be located near the Deep Creek channel. Let’s keep the City Farm and access to the James and Warwick Rivers for all of us, especially for our students

Adrian Whitcomb
President, Citizens for Riverview Farm Park
Newport News



         Petition to Save the City Farm – Volunteers Needed

Both major parties are having primaries on Tuesday June 13. We as citizens supporting Riverview Farm Park plan to be at as many precincts as we can cover on that day to gather signatures on our petition. If you can help for an hour or two or longer, anytime between 6:00 AM and 7:00 PM, please contact us at RiverviewParkCitizens@gmail.com

In addition to asking for help on our website and by e-mail, we plan to make some phone calls to potential volunteers. If you can help us with that, please let us know.

The time required for most of us is minimal, but the potential reward is great for all of us – a riverfront park that we can all enjoy!

View petition at http://saveriverviewfarmpark.com/index.php/petition/

We can also e-mail the petition to you as a pdf, along with related documents, so that you can gather signatures at other times and places too.


A New Video, “Searching for a River View,” most of which was created while driving from Riverside Drive to the neighborhoods just south of Lucas Creek, is now on our video page at http://saveriverviewfarmpark.com/index.php/videos-links/


City Manager Cynthia Rohlf  and Assistant Director of Parks J. Michael Nealer Met with the Public on April 24 to Discuss the Planning Process for the City Farm and to Answer Questions. More Photos and Videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/webpages2020/playlists

Daily Press Article and Editorial at http://saveriverviewfarmpark.com/index.php/news-articles/

NOTE: New “City Council Citizen Comment Videos” page at http://saveriverviewfarmpark.com/index.php/city-council-citizen-comment-videos/




Below is a video that combines segments from the City Farm and waterfront with comments made at city council meetings. Please share it with your friends by e-mail and on Facebook, etc.


NEW PAGE: Town Halls — Photos and Videos from the March 6 Town Hall have been added

Calendar Page Updates

Please go to the Calendar Page for information on coming events.



The Way Ahead


*** We need to realize that it’s not likely to be one bold step that we take that will achieve our goal, but a series of much smaller steps ***

              THE PETITIONS

Below is the paper petition which we are emphasizing now, but we would like you to also do the Online Petition at https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/dont-let-the-city-farm-fall-into-the-hands-of-developers.html  You can do both.

Please e-mail us at RiverviewParkCitizens@gmail.com and we will send you a pdf of the petition that you can print out and begin taking those small steps that will add up to victory!



At the moment there are 100 “SAVE THE CITY FARM” and 200 “SaveRiverviewFarmPark.com” signs. Pat Wright may have a few left, so please contact him if you would like one. You can contact him at patwright54@yahoo.com or 591-2169.
More people are noticing these signs and I continue to get requests to add e-mail addresses to our list.

This Website

New information is added to this website almost daily. The plan is to build a body of easy to reach information so people can dig as much as they want to become as educated as they would like to be on the issues. This of course takes time but the more people know about the issues, the more likely they will be to support the park and the better equipped they will be to answer those who argue for development. Please visit the site often at http://saveriverviewfarmpark.com/ .

The weeks ahead include


You Are the Key

To get things done, we will need the help of each of you. You can start by sending your comments and suggestions to this e-mail address. A lot of what we’ve done in previous meetings can be done more efficiently this way. This will give me time to find answers and I can also send them out in a mass e-mail and put some of them on the website for the benefit of all.

Adrian Whitcomb
President, Citizens for Riverview Farm Park



What we are working toward is a recognition by a majority of Newport News City Council members that the Riverview Farm Park Master Plan that was adopted in 1991 is still in effect and that it is their obligation to complete the implementation of that plan. We are working to save the complete Riverview Farm Park and we will not be satisfied with the landlocked part of the park that we now have access to, even with an additional “buffer,” while a few people divide up for their profit and benefit what we as citizens of Newport News all own. The more people who will join us in this cause, the more effective our voice will be.

             Riverview – Keep It All

Back in the nineties, this park was planned then,
Deep Creek Marina, the City Farm then.
It all was zoned park; let’s keep it all that way__.
Keep it all for us in Riverview. 

This land is our land, this City Farm land—
Not to be sold land, forever park land.
No subdividing—all for the people__.
Keep it all for us in Riverview.
The only profit goes to the builders.
We’d be left holding the bills when they’re through
For infrastructure and wider highways too__.
Keep it all for us in Riverview.
No fancy homes here, no condo towers.
Let’s keep the nature, the trees, the flowers,
Let’s keep the river – all to enjoy__.
Keep it all for us in Riverview.
Save Riverview now; take to the river.
One park united let’s now deliver.
This farm is our farm; the waterfront is too__.
Keep it all for us in Riverview.
To City Council we all have spoken.
Keep to the promise; keep it unbroken.
Let’s work together for all our citizens__.
Keep it all for us in Riverview.
Can be sung to the tune of “This Land is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie.

                          © 2016 Adrian H. Whitcomb Jr.   ~




Some Media Links

The Daily Press

Please go to our “News Articles” page


November 14, 2016 TV 13
December 13, 2016 TV 3
December 14, 2016 TV 10
March 1, 2017 TV 13


THINGS YOU CAN DO to help save Riverview Farm Park!

(1) Sign the paper petition. We will have petitions at most meetings. You can also help us gather petitions.

You can also sign the online  petition. Click on the “Sign Up” button above or follow the link below and it will lead you to the petition page: https://www.gopetition.com/…/dont-let-the-city-farm-fall-in…

(2) Search the Daily Press each day for articles, letters to the editor, and editorials related to Riverview Farm Park or the City Farm. Also check the links on this website.

(3) Contact City Council members using individual e-mail addresses below to address your concerns about the park.
Mayor McKinley Price mprice@nnva.gov
Bert Bateman bertbate@aol.com
Saundra Cherry scherry@nnva.gov
Marcellus Harris mlharris@nnva.gov
Sharon Scott spscott@nnva.gov
Tina Vick tvick@nnva.gov
Pat Woodbury pwoodbury@nnva.gov

(4) Write a letter to the editor of the Daily Press or post a comment on their comment page. Letters can be sent through US Mail or by e-mail to letters@dailypress.com

(5) Spread the word to family, friends, fellow citizens and all lovers of Riverview Farm Park!

(6) Contact lucy.vantine@gmail.com to help hand out flyers supporting
Riverview Farm Park

(7) Contact us at RiverviewParkCitizens@gmail.com for more information on this issue and ways that you can help support Riverview Farm Park
on keeping the City Farm as a waterfront park and part of Riverview Farm Park as described in the 1991 Riverview Farm Park Master Plan, the Deep Creek/Menchville Master Plan (1990), and the Framework for the Future 2030.

WHEN to GO: Newport News City Council meets at 7:00 PM on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month.

HOW to GET THERE: From northern or central Newport News, follow Warwick Boulevard toward the Shipyard (East on US Route 60). After you pass Mercury Boulevard, the side streets are numbered in decreasing order. The eastbound lanes become Huntington Avenue as you enter the historic North End/Huntington Heights neighborhood. Continue on Huntington Avenue until you reach 25th Street. Turn right on 25th Street. The City Hall is the 10 story building on your left at the next intersection (Washington Avenue). You may park on the street or in the parking lot beside the City Hall. Enter the City Hall through the front door. Walk through the lobby to the annex building behind the City Hall. This is the Council Chambers. Map of Downtown Newport News: https://goo.gl/maps/vsTBPCyZkjA2

WHERE to SIGN UP to SPEAK: In the lobby of the annex building you can fill in a card indicating that you would like to speak during the Public Comment period. There is a 3 minute limit per person. Pick up an agenda for the meeting. Mayor Price will call your name when it’s time for you to speak.

WHAT to BRING: It’s not required, but if you would like to, you may submit a printed copy of your remarks and/or additional materials). Bring 10, one for each of the 7 Council members, the City Manager, the City Attorney, and the Clerk of the Council. An additional copy for the Daily Press reporter would be good too.

WHAT to SAY: In your own words, speak from your heart. Citizens for Riverview Farm Park (CRFP) is working to see that all of the City Farm and the City owned portion of the Deep Creek Marina are included in Riverview Farm Park. The City Council should vote for this result in the near future, and then proceed to open the area to the public as soon as possible. A committee containing a broad range of citizens could be appointed to help plan the details of the park. Please do not attack the City Council or any individual. Our case will be stronger if we are civil and speak in a positive manner concerning what we want the future of the City Farm, the Marina, and all of Riverview Farm Park to be.




                       TOP OF PAGE