“No city in today’s world, no matter how large or successful, can be an island unto itself. Whatever our differences might be, we are far stronger working together than we could ever be apart,” said Mayor Rick West at the Hampton Roads Chamber Chesapeake State of the City on April 30th. The definite theme of the day revolved around different entities of people and businesses throughout the region working together to build a successful future for Chesapeake.
A special recognition was given to the late Mayor Dr. William E. Ward for his lifelong public and political service to the City of Chesapeake and the Hampton Roads region. Bill Ward was known for being an educator and the longest-serving Mayor of Chesapeake. “He showed us how to work with people at every level. He helped shape Chesapeake’s place on the international business stage. He brought infrastructure of every sort, and he never forgot the importance of serving, and partnering with our residents in projects, large and small,” said Mayor West. The Chesapeake Conference Center displayed a wonderful attribute to Dr. William Ward in the Rotunda celebrating his life and accomplishments.
A major announcement for the city came from Dollar Tree breaking ground to the Greenbrier area thanks to the Summit Point Development Team. Phase 2 of the major development center is currently underway, and plans are being made for Phase 3. The campus is currently home to 1,300 associates and will expand to 1,900 by the end of the year. The expanding of the Greenbrier area is a key example of different planning departments of the city working together to grow. With these new developmental announcements and extensive planning for Chesapeake, Greenbrier will be a central hub of the city for entertainment, dining, shopping, and business.
Chesapeake Regional Hospital has been successful in its expansion of the new Interventional Neurology Suite, use of robotics, and creating a new critical care tower breaking ground later this year. ForKids, a Hampton Roads nonprofit organization working to assist families in need, is working on the construction of the new corporate site, a $20 million investment for the city of Chesapeake.
The Open Space and Agriculture Preservation Program will also be at the forefront of planning economic development projects. This will ensure the protection of areas within the city so future generations can enjoy the beauty and nature that Chesapeake offers. Mayor West also remarked on the improved infrastructure and transportation projects to major roads, including the expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, a cost of $3.8 billion.
It has been 56 years since the City of South Norfolk and Norfolk County merged creating Chesapeake. The 245,000 residents that live, work, shop, worship, and raise families in Chesapeake have a lot to look forward to in the years ahead. “Yet to seize this time, to seize this moment, is not to seize the past but rather the future. If you ask about the state of our city, I must say it is not that we own yesterday, it is not even that we own today, it is that we own tomorrow,” said Mayor West.
Mayor West noted 3 indispensable things that must be done to set the city up for success going forward: 1. Think strategically by listening, considering, creating, and having the correct balance of resources and goals. 2. Get better at articulating strategic plans and convey them to the residents. 3. Implement. “We honor our past, we are proud of our present, but we are excited for our excited for our future,” said Mayor West.
Mayor West also brought the topic of technological growth into the conversation for the future of the city by working with Cox Communications and Verizon, making Chesapeake a fully connected city. “Partnerships are not confined to brick and mortar,” said Mayor West. In partnering with the Chesapeake Area Shelter Team (CAST), volunteers throughout the city have been working diligently on feeding and providing services to the homeless population of Chesapeake. “It’s on the more humanistic side of government that our commitment to partnership shines brightest,’ said Mayor West.
In closing, Mayor West said, “Chesapeake is a city of leaders, quite simply, because we are a city of partners.”
The Hampton Roads Chamber means business and works as a powerful economic partner, inspiring ignitor, impactful advocate, and regional collaborator for our diverse and inclusive business community.
The Hampton Roads Chamber will end the 2019 State of the City Series with Suffolk State of the City on May 21st.
Thank you to our Series sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: TowneBank, City Host Sponsor: Dollar Tree, Member Spotlight Sponsor: Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Platinum Sponsor: Bon Secours, Gold Sponsor: GEICO, Building the Future Series Sponsor: The Franklin Johnson Group, Spirit in Motion Sponsor: Norfolk Southern, Silver Sponsors: ABNB Federal Credit Union, BrightView, Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Langley Federal Credit Union, Norfolk State University, Optima Health, Traffix, Verizon, Host Sponsor: Chesapeake Conference Center, Non Profit Leader Sponsor: WHRO, Magazine Sponsor, Virginia Business, Radio Sponsor: Sinclair Communications.