The Chamber concluded its five-part State of the City Series with a luncheon in Suffolk on May 8. More than 450 business and community leaders listened to Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson deliver the state of the city address at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront Hotel & Conference Center.
Johnson began by reminding the crowd that in 2010 CNN Money Magazine selected Suffolk as one of the top 100 small cities to live in. In determining this, she said, “they considered factors such as good jobs, low crime, charm, recreational activities and more.”
Johnson thanked City Council, City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn and other city leaders for their hard work, dedication and professionalism. “We’ve had five credit rating upgrades since 2008, and this is our fifth year in a row we’ve been in compliance with all financial policies,” she said. The mayor noted, “Suffolk continued its unparalleled growth topping out 2011 with 47 new and expanding companies, 980 new jobs were created and more than $103 million in new capital investment.”
Despite the economic challenges, Suffolk has continued business development and expansion. Coming in the near future to the Harbour View area is the new 31,500 square-foot, $10.8 million bon Secours Cancer Institute. Goodwill Industries recently opened a new 15,000 square-foot retail store and donation center in Harbour View, their third location in Suffolk. And PetSmart opened this April in Harbour View Station East Shopping Center. Johnson said, “We’re ready to take advantage of a major boom in shipping with the development of the Centerpoint Intermodal Center, where the first tenant, ACE Hardware, will invest more than $14 million.” She added, “Soon to be a neighbor of ACE Hardware, the Navy Exchange Service Command, is building a distribution site to serve their east coast stores.”
The city continues to grow, as the 2010 US Census showed. Johnson said, “Population numbers soared to close to 85,000 residents, a 33% increase from numbers just 10 years ago.” The mayor also discussed the positives of the city’s education system, quality of life, recreation and medical care.
Thanks to series sponsors: TowneBank (Presenting); Bon Secours Virginia Health Systems (Platinum); Cox Communications (Media); Farm Fresh Inc. and Optima Health (Silver).