NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — Norfolk Mayor, Kenneth Cooper Alexander spoke to a sold-out room Friday in Downtown Norfolk for his second State of the City Address.
His speech highlighted many successes from last year and plans for this coming year.
The speech covered a range of 2017 from over 7,000 new jobs, five new schools, the Main Hotel, the NATO Resilience Conference, and the 100th anniversary of Naval Station Norfolk.
He said, “today I can affirm with confidence at the state of our city is strong.”
Last year the city achieved $12,000,000 in savings for taxpayers.
He announced the streets that once divided Park Place and Ghent are thriving with restaurants new developments.
Alexander said that this area is planned to become Norfolk‘s next historic neighborhood with a mixture of commercial, residential and industrial uses and will be known as the “Railroad District.”
The mayor said Norfolk is building a reputation as a destination for arts.
So, one of the new projects includes Tide Water Community College.
“I am pleased to announce that Patricia and Douglas Perry are gifting the Glass Wheel art center to Tidewater Community College,” said Alexander.
He said this gift will transform the Greyhound Bus Station, turning it into a center for visual, culinary arts, and hospitality education.
“It’s a combination of a long time plan for the last year,” said TCC’s President.
Also in downtown, the mayor announced a $55,000,000 investment and acquisition of the Waterside Marriott hotel.
It would include a comprehensive renovation creating a modernized conference facility to drive new businesses to Norfolk.
To grow business, even more, the Mayor announced MacAurhor Center owners sent the city a proposal to create a “mixed-use” development with shops, residences, restaurants, and full-service hotel and a public plaza.
To increase homeownership, Alexander plans to invest 8.7 million dollars over five years to increase homeownership and make improvements to the Ingleside and Monticello Village / Oakdale Farms.
Mayor Alexander has development plans at Ocean View as well.
“Ocean view is the home of 7.5 miles of Bay fronts,” said Alexander.
He said he wants to increase homeownership, and improve rental spaces by buying properties on the Chesapeake Bay side of Ocean View.
“Greeneis Bar and Grill and Ocean View Diner. These strategic parcels, for now, will expand our resident's access to the beach and increase the cities open space,” said Alexander.
Even with these new revitalizing projects, he said he is proposing a multi-year commitment of $3 million to build ‘’ladders of opportunity for residents in the area.”
The city also granted Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate an Option Agreement to conduct a feasibility study on the construction of a new building located at the corner of St.Paul’s Boulevard and Wareside Drive.
In the sports world, he said Scope Arena renovation is a project that is possible but costly.
He said, “are we willing to make The sacrifices to do it?”
However, he said steady growth in ticket sales means the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference sign a three-year extension of the MEAC ball tournament, in Norfolk.
In the medical world, CHKD will build a 60-bed inpatient mental health facility for children and adolescents. It will be built on the CHKD campus in Norfolk.
This announcement comes days after Sentara plans to open a new 230,000 square-foot cancer center on the campus of Sentara Leigh Hospital.
This center is a 93 million dollar investment, to accelerate research and give better care and help to people surviving cancer.
Lastly, he plans to open a data portal called “Norfolk Open Data.” The portal will provide data sets the city hopes residential use to find information about the work of the city, and hands and get fish and see about the city departments, and serve as a catalyst for Innovation by businesses in schools.
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