I have come to appreciate all 31 days in January as it is a busy time of year at the city, work, and in the community. January started strong. I was honored to attend the Norfolk Police Academy Graduation of the 103rd Session. There were twenty one men and women who graduated in this wonderful ceremony among friends and family. These brave officers now are serving Norfolk and keeping us safe. I spoke at the Riverpoint Civic League and was appreciative of the level of engagement. We talked about dredging, park land and park equipment, Granby Street Bridge rehabilitation project (2019), local impact of the government shutdown and more. I learn a great deal when visiting neighborhoods and my aim is to inform the neighbors of city projects and initiatives that will have a direct impact on their community.
I attended the Urban League of Hampton Roads 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast at the ODU Ted Constant Center. ODU hosted the breakfast and the entire floor of the basketball court was full – it was a great attendance. Delegate Jay Jones, 89th District of the Virginia House of Delegates, spoke and really captured the spirit of the day. Following the breakfast, I participated in the Martin Luther King, Jr. March from the Attucks Theatre to the Martin Luther King Memorial on Church Street. It was bitterly cold but the turnout was strong.
Monthly office hours at City Hall are excellent. I hold office hours on the third Thursday every month from 2:30pm-4:30pm. Feel free to email me to make an appointment or watch for my Facebook post announcing the hours monthly. I meet with people and businesses outside of these hours as well. All of these meetings allow me to learn and hopefully educate others on the latest in Norfolk.
Retail is changing. I shop online and I am sure many of you do as well. The Nordstrom’s closure on April 5 is not wholly unexpected. Malls these days are not the malls of the past. If you look at other major cities, malls are being repurposed for residential living, business locations, entertainment venues and more. I look forward to working with Norfolk Economic Development and our partners in the community to reimagine MacArthur Mall. And, yes, Norfolk Southern starts the transition from Norfolk to Atlanta with some executives leaving as early as this summer. Norfolk Southern owns their Norfolk headquarters building and the land on which their building resides on Main Street. We are closely following their plans.
Did you hear about some fun happenings in Norfolk? New Amtrak service will begin March 4. You can travel to DC and back two times a day versus just the one early trip. Take advantage of this additional service and avoid traffic on 64 and 95! Norfolk International Airport announced two new seasonal routes to Cincinnati and Cleveland starting in June. The footbridge at the bow of the Wisconsin in downtown Norfolk is being replaced. This much needed project will allow for a safer bike/walk/run/stroll across this waterway. We should be able to access the footbridge in early June in advance of Harborfest weekend.
And, I want to thank Norfolk for helping those in need who were furloughed during the government shutdown. These affected government employees are our friends and neighbors, not just strangers we don’t know.
I welcome your thoughts and input on anything of interest. See pictures from the last few weeks. I tried my first run/walk with my one year old puppy, Grady, and he did a great job of staying to my left and not tripping me! We went from home to Waterside (about 5 miles) and he was exhausted and hungry after the adventure.
Best to all of you and enjoy your weekend!