“As Mayor of Suffolk, it’s my duty to look to the future, to find balance. How do we build a community that appeals to each of us individually, and to all of us collectively? Every decision, every investment has been made with an eye toward the future. Not just creating a strong economy for the present, but building the foundation we want for our children and future generations.” Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson themed her speech for the Hampton Roads Chamber 2018 State of the City luncheon “Be Inspired”.
Johnson thanked the Mayors of the other four Hampton Roads cities who attended for working together on the critical issue of transportation. “Our quality of life is based on our ability to get from place to place.”
The Suffolk Mayor is proud of her city’s growth this year and the fiscal responsibility of city leaders. Suffolk continues to grow steadily in population and in economic development. “In this year’s economic activity report, which is proudly making its official debut today, you’ll note that we have a total of 712 new jobs and more than $114 million dollars in capital investment. That includes more than 1,180,000 additional square feet in new and expanding businesses –inspiring numbers, to say the least!”
Investments include improvements in health, food, and recreation. Blue Bell Ice Cream will soon begin construction of their distribution facility in Northgate Commerce Park. The Neighborhood Harvest, the Suffolk-based hydroponic farm, is expanding their growing operations into a larger facility in the Suffolk Industrial Park. “In fact, your delicious salad, dressing and bread today was provided by The Neighborhood Harvest – how’s that for farm to table?”
Both Sentara Healthcare and Bon Secours have increased investments in Suffolk this year. Sentara launched a major expansion at the Belle Harbour campus by investing $34 million dollars in new construction that adds an ambulatory surgery center with two operating rooms, an FAA-registered helipad for nightingale and other air ambulances, and additional medical offices space. Sentara also recently opened a 20,000-square-foot medical office at the Sentara Obici campus.
Bon Secours newest addition in Suffolk is a $20 million dollar, state-of-the-art cancer institute offering comprehensive services for the citizens of western Hampton Roads.
Future development for Suffolk includes a new vision for the core city – the Suffolk Downtown Master Plan focuses on key strategies for bringing new life to Downtown. The plan’s three centerpieces are a Festival and Market Square that would attract entertainment options like concerts and community gatherings to the heart of Downtown, Library Square as the anchor of a new active public space on West Washington Street, and a new mixed-use residential and historic reuse project on East Washington Street. “These and the designation of a creative arts district will contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of our downtown.”
That vibrancy is also attracting developers and Homearama. “I’m also proud to officially announce that Suffolk will once again be home to the Tidewater Builders Association Homearama this fall at The Creeks of Nansemond in the community of Nansemond River Estates.”
Mayor Johnson touted a million dollars’ worth of grants that will be used for construction of the next phase of the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail.
Mayor Johnson thanked her family, city leaders, neighboring city leaders, first responders, educators, library workers, and all municipal employees for Suffolk’s success. “Today, together, we’re building the foundation of a fiscally sound, innovative, thriving city – Suffolk is open for business!”
The Hampton Roads Chamber presents the State of the City Address for each of the five Southside cities. Suffolk, on May 8, marked the final address for 2018. The Hampton Roads Chamber works to be an inspiring ignitor, impactful advocate, and powerful economic partner for the business community. Mayor Johnson thanked the Chamber for these efforts. “Living up to their tagline, the Chamber means business! Dedicated to helping business owners and entrepreneurs network, learn and build their business, we appreciate your tireless efforts in promoting our region and our community, not just today, but every day.”
Thank you to our State of the City Series Sponsors:
Presenting, Towne Bank; Platinum, Bon Secours; Gold, GEICO; Silver, Norfolk State University Online; Silver, ABNB; Silver, Optima Health; Silver, Opportunity Inc.; Magazine, Virginia Business; Radio, Sinclair Communications and to the event AV sponsor, Elite Audio Visual Elements.