I hope this email finds you and your family well! It is hard to believe that it has been one year since my election to serve the residents of Ward 2 — May 1, 2018. It has been a wonderful year full of rich experiences for which I am very grateful.
I would like to share a genuine moment captured at an event I attended in April. The Young Architects Forum – Hampton Roads (YAF) hosted an evening addressing “Building a Sustainable Hampton Roads”. You will see a picture below of me waving to Councilman Aaron Rouse (Virginia Beach). As I was standing up to say hello to the audience, I turned to Aaron to wave hello. We got to know each other during our respective campaigns. I truly appreciate our friendship. And, as the caption in the instagram post notes, we are waving at each other..”a friendly exchange between neighboring cities represents our region working together.” I had not seen this photo until just a few days ago and I didn’t know this moment had been captured. But, I was happy to see that YAF posted this moment. Cities can work together and get along and it all starts with personal relationships.
April is budget season for Norfolk. Norfolk City Council has read the budget closely, provided input and feedback to what the City Manager initially proposed, and we are scheduled to vote on Tuesday, May 14. Where the money is spent indicates the priorities. We are focused on city infrastructure, St. Paul’s Area Transformation, flood mitigation and resilience projects, neighborhoods, education, school maintenance, multi-modal transit plan, regional public safety initiatives, employee salary or step increases, fire and safety, and the cultural arts. These are just the highlights. The proposed budget will total about $1.392 billion.
Norfolk is host to the NATO Festival every year. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries come together to celebrate each other and the collective success of NATO. The Virginia International Tattoo takes place during this festival week at Scope Arena. It is an amazing performance with remarkable sights and sounds. I encourage you to attend any of the wonderful arts and cultural events around Norfolk in the coming weeks. There is much happening around the city.
The Park Place Civic League, Railroad District Business Association, Ghent Business Association and the Ghent Neighborhood League all joined together for a clean up of the area between 23rd and 31st street around Colonial Avenue. This is the first time I have seen these groups come together for this effort. These neighborhoods are all adjacent to each other and have mutual interests for neighborhood and commercial success. There is much development and revitalization happening in this corridor – very impressive. You would be amazed if you drove around the Railroad/Park Place area to see all of the new apartments and condos. Old buildings and warehouses have been completely reimagined and reconfigured — amenities like pools, workout facilities — all within walking distance to excellent restaurants and shopping. We had members of the military, neighborhood residents, and people who were finishing their CrossFit class join together for the Saturday morning event.
Finally, I attended the groundbreaking for the second tower – the River Tower – for Harbor’s Edge in Norfolk. Harbor’s Edge is a full service continuing care retirement community located on the Elizabeth River. There is incredible demand for this type of community demonstrated by the fact that this second building is nearly 83% pre-sold – impressive.
Have a great spring weekend.