“The knowledge that inspiration and growth only come from adversity and from challenge, from stepping away from what’s comfortable and familiar, and stepping out into the unknown,” said Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson. The Hampton Roads Chamber wrapped up its signature 2019 State of the City Series with Suffolk on Tuesday, May 21 at the Hilton Garden Inn-Suffolk Riverfront Hotel and Conference Center. “We know that the overarching success and vitality of the entire city and the boundless potential that lies ahead for all of us lies in the fact that we work together.”
Hampton Roads Chamber President and CEO Bryan K. Stephens said, “There are over 500 of us in this room to showcase Suffolk’s excellence in leading economic, workforce development and quality of life.”
May being Military Appreciation Month, Mayor Johnson recognized how important military personnel is to the region. “We are privileged that more than 3,000 military and civilian personnel not only work in Suffolk at the Naval Information Forces and the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, among others but that thousands also call Suffolk home.”
Major areas of growth are in store for Suffolk including educational and economic development projects, and outdoor recreational programs. Each of these aspects of life directly contributes to the economy and quality of life not only for the city but also the region. “It is evident that when it comes to opportunities to enjoy leisure and culture within our community, we truly offer something for everyone. There is no better time to explore, make memories, and share your adventures with family and friends,” said Mayor Johnson.
A few major businesses contributing to the economic prosperity of Suffolk are Sentara Obici Hospital, Bon Secours Healthcare, Blue Bell Creameries, and BECO. Obici continues to expand its campus and provide residents with high-quality health care by integrating advanced technologies. Bon Secours will develop a short-stay, surgically-focused hospital in North Suffolk. Blue Bell Creameries has committed to returning to the region by building a 14,000 square-foot distribution facility in the Northgate Commerce Park. The Bridgeport area by BECO known as “The Silos” are making significant headway in the housing and residence department of the city. The area will offer 288 luxury apartments surrounded by a walkable waterfront community that will also feature retail shopping and dining, showcasing all that Coastal Virginia has to offer.
Johnson encapsulated the overall theme and purpose of the State of the City Series by noting business and economic developments from the past year propelling the city into the next year. Most notably, a reported steady increase in the population of the city from the U.S. Census Bureau since 2012, positive financial success from abundant farmlands, and securing AAA Bond ratings with Standard & POOR’s and Fitch rating agencies. Each of these accomplishments positively factors into the growth of Suffolk in the coming years.
An exciting development for the Downtown area is SPARC, the Suffolk’s Prime Arts Retail and Culinary Initiative. This initiative includes the work of over 40 artists to be displayed at the newly opened SPARC Shoppe on Main Street, which received a grant of $15,000 from Suffolk Economic Development Authority to open an even larger community space. “The energy of entrepreneurs is palpable Downtown. If you haven’t joined us lately, come experience, see, and taste what so many people are talking about,” said Mayor Johnson.
With Sentara and Bon Secours leading the way in innovations and campus expansions throughout Suffolk, the availability of medical care has increased and made readily available for the residents of the city. The public safety of Suffolk continues to be a point of success for the city by using the best equipment technology to keep citizens safe. “A city can only move forward when it has a strong foundation to build upon,” said Mayor Johnson.
With the mentioned projects and growth of Suffolk, the city has a lot to look forward to in the coming years. In closing, Mayor Johnson said, “We can be proud of how we are growing, and in particular be proud of how we are doing it together.”
The Hampton Roads Chamber means business and works as a powerful economic partner, inspiring ignitor, impactful advocate, and regional brand collaborator for our diverse and inclusive business community.
Thank you to our series sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: Townebank; Host Sponsor: Hilton Garden Inn-Suffolk Riverfront Hotel and Conference Center; Platinum Sponsor: Bon Secours; Gold Sponsor: GEICO; Silver Sponsors Norfolk State University, ABNB Federal Credit Union, Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Traffix, Verizon, BrightView, Langley Federal Credit Union, Optima Health; Building the Future Sponsor: The Franklin Johnson Group; Non Profit Sponsor: WHRO; A/V Sponsor: Elite Audio and Visual Elements; Radio Sponsor: Sinclair Communications; Magazine Sponsor: Virginia Business.