“As we look ahead, we are focused on ensuring Virginia Beach has quality City services that contribute to our health, safety and education, infrastructure that enhances and protects our community, and a thriving economy,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer.
The Hampton Roads Chamber hosted the Virginia Beach State of the City address on March 17th, 2021.
The State of the City Series has become the preferred forum for each city’ Mayor to communicate with the business community. The State of the City addresses are annual updates for each city’s progress over the past year and agenda for the year to come. The Hampton Roads Chamber works to be an inspiring ignitor, impactful advocate, regional collaborator, and powerful economic partner. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, this year’s Virginia Beach State of the City was held in-person to a room of ten people, while being live-streamed to viewers.
Mayor Bobby Dyer opened his address with a video tour of city highlights and projects. He then entered the ballroom and started his live portion by remembering the loss Virginia Beach suffered on May 31st, 2019. He acknowledging the grief so many still experience today and held a moment of silence in honor of the lives lost or injured.
Mayor Dyer then unveiled the newest design of the upcoming project, Atlantic Park. This 3,500 person entertainment venue will transform the Virginia Beach experience by bringing a state-of-the-art surf park, new businesses, and making sure music and entertainment are mainstays of the beach. Mayor Dyer cited collaboration as the essential ingredient that makes these kinds of projects possible. “This project would not be happening without a public-private partnership that allows us to do more together than we could on our own,” stated Dyer.
Speaking more on collaboration, Mayor Dyer identified three specific areas of focus; Inclusion, Technology, and Clean Energy.
To address Inclusion, Mayor Dyer founded the new Virginia Beach IDEA Commission which is set to examine issues, and look at projects and initiatives through a lens of I.D.E.A., Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility. “I’ve asked Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond to chair the IDEA Commission and to facilitate the development of actionable IDEAS in the areas of social justice, healthcare, housing, transportation, job creation, service delivery, and more,” said Mayor Dyer.
The Mayor announced that Ben Davenport will be chairing the Task Force on Technology and Innovation. This panel will examine the potential to attract high-end technology jobs and increase training opportunities to ensure the workforce to fill those jobs is strong.
As for Clean Energy, Mayor Bobby Dyer announced the creation of the Virginia Beach Mayor’s Commission for Offshore Wind and Clean Energy. “As bad as 2020 was on so many levels, something good happened twenty-seven miles east of here. Two 580 foot-high wind turbines came online – the first ever in federal waters of the United States,” exclaimed Mayor Dyer. The Mayor stated that Virginia Beach is uniquely positioned to host this emerging industry and therefore will be investing millions of dollars into Tidewater Community College to purchase equipment to teach the necessary skills to support offshore wind.
“One thing we know for sure: The people of Virginia Beach are the strength of Virginia Beach. And together we will be the model for how a community can come together. Now it’s our time to rise and shine as a ‘community of one’,” said Mayor Dyer.
“This past year has been an incredibly challenging one for local businesses. I applaud the Hampton Roads Chamber for stepping up to help in the midst of an unprecedented economic storm. TowneBank was honored to help local businesses through the PPP – Paycheck Protection Program. We were able to support 6,700 businesses with more than 1.2 billion of needed funding,” said Buffy Barefoot, President of TowneBank Virginia Beach.
Dominion Energy, the City Host Sponsor, presented a video on their Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind initiative and the positive impact it will have on the region’s economy.
The Franklin Johnston Group was the Building the Future Sponsor and presented a video showcasing the beautiful rental properties available throughout Virginia Beach and the jobs they have brough to Virginia through these developments.
Thank you to all of our State of the City Sponsors
If you missed today’s presentation, click the video below.