Nearly 700 business and community leaders were in attendance to hear Chesapeake Mayor Alan P. Krasnoff deliver his annual Chesapeake State of the City Address on April 15, 2015 at the Chesapeake Conference Center.
David Ropp, Chairman of the Chesapeake Division for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and Bob Sasser, Chief Executive Officer of Dollar Tree, Inc. provided welcoming remarks and introduced the mayor.
“Before I begin, I want to express my appreciation to the Chamber for its support of our State of the City Series,” said Krasnoff. “Each year, this event gives Chesapeake yet another forum to showcase our accomplishments and I am grateful for all the hard work that goes into making ours a success.”
Krasnoff spent much of his time highlighting the City’s efforts to recognize and assist Veterans in Chesapeake. The City is hoping to provide services to the estimated 27,000 veterans who reside in Chesapeake. Krasnoff stated, “To help, this year we sought and received support from the General Assembly to establish a Veterans Benefits field office on the Chesapeake campus of Tidewater Community College, which ranks as one of the top community colleges nationwide for the number of veterans using a GI Bill.”
Krasnoff also mentioned, “By the end of 2015, the Hampton VA Medical Center will open a new 10,000 square foot clinic that will serve upwards of 6,000 veterans and double the level of access for veterans living on the Southside.”
He continued, “We’re also committed to the Virginia Values Veterans program to help employers recruit and hire veterans. Obviously, there’s more to it than meets the eye, but since 2012, almost 7,000 Virginia veterans have found new jobs.”
Each year, Krasnoff presents the City’s flag to the families of those Chesapeake residents who died serving our country. Private Midgett, who lost his life in Vietnam, sister, Diane Midgett accepted the flag this year. Krasnoff remarked, “It has been a sad duty, but also a necessary mark of remembrance and respect…She will never forget, and neither will we.”
Krasnoff stated several accolades the city has received. 1) USA Today ranks the City among the top 100 cities for millennials. 2) WalletHub.com says the city is 19th among the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs. 3) 24/7 Wall Street ranks Chesapeake one of the top 50 best cities in which to live. 4) NerdWallet places Chesapeake 19th on its list of best cities for our quality of life. 5) Chesapeake ranks in the top 20 of America’s safest cities and 6) Bond rating agencies rank the City at the top of the heap when it comes to financial stability, and the US Small Business Administration has named Chesapeake its Small Business Community of the Year.
Krasnoff stated, “On that point, I want to pay tribute to Angela Barber, who works in our economic development department and is the SBA’s Woman in Business Champion of the Year. Because of Angela’s commitment and hard work, Chesapeake is home to more than 200 small businesses owned by women, including those who have been built by Councilwoman Suzy Kelly.”
Krasnoff announced more jobs and a new 260,000 square foot retail center to Battlefield Boulevard. Krasnoff stated, “Although plans for this new power center are still in the preliminary phases, soon we hope to add several great national retailers like the Kroger Company, Dick's Sporting Goods, Field and Stream, Home Goods, and PetCo to our list of successes.”
He also announced that the city is building the largest municipally-managed project in Virginia.
Krasnoff stated, “At $345 million, the Veterans Bridge will break the back of congestion on Dominion Boulevard and create new stepping stones for those willing to work and plan with us.”
Tracy Keller, CEO of Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast was in attendance.
“I am always impressed to find out that we do so much in Chesapeake but still as much as we do it’s still our best kept secret,” said Keller. “We have leadership happening from our young children all the way up through our seniors. And also to take time to recognize our Veterans today was super special.”
Ropp also commented at the conclusion of the luncheon, “These events are the best we have in Chesapeake and have the biggest attendance,” said Ropp. “These are the business leaders of Chesapeake.”
Thank you to series sponsors: TowneBank (Presenting); Newtown Building Supplies (Building the Future Partner); Bon Secours Virginia Health System (Platinum); GEICO (Gold); Cox (Media); and Sentara Optima Health Plan (Silver).
Join the Chamber for the last remaining State of the City event taking place on May 14. For more information and to register, visit Events.HamptonRoadsChamber.com.