I hope everyone is enjoying the end of a pleasant spring with a very hot start to summer!
One of the greatest responsibilities we have as Norfolk City Council is determining the annual budget for the city. We approved a $1.2B budget on May 14, which includes operating funds and grant funding. Regarding education, we were able to add $3M more to Norfolk Public Schools budget over last year (on top of a $5M increase the year prior), which will go toward much needed resources in the schools. Our talented Team Norfolk will receive a 2% salary increase and there is a step increase for police and fire-rescue. There is a continued focus on infrastructure, IT, vehicles and equipment. We secured funding for innovation corridors where we will be able to upgrade the medians on 38th Street in Lambert’s Point, support the ongoing development of the North Colley Business District and provide support for many other areas of the city. A major renovation to Nauticus will take place in the years to come with city support along with matching funds from philanthropy. The budget includes ongoing financial support for the St. Paul’s Transformation. Given our focus on pedestrian and vehicle safety on all of our streets, we funded an educational campaign to support Vision Zero. Many of the areas funded this year were in keeping with my priorities of education, safe neighborhoods, economic development and flooding/seal-level rise.
I was pleased to welcome the League of Women Voters – Virginia 39th Biennial Convention at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. I enjoy serving as host to meetings such as these and would love to see more meetings and conventions take place in Norfolk! Also, I was thrilled to cheer on the runners at the CHKD Run Walk at Waterside on an early Saturday morning. I didn’t run in the race, but, ironically, I ran to the race from my car parked way far away due to the street closures! I thought I would miss giving the formal welcome but I made it just in time. The money raised from this race will go towards the new $224M facility CHKD is building to house behavioral health services – inpatient and outpatient – on the Eastern Virginia Medical Campus in Norfolk that also is home to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Eastern Virginia Medical School. The CHKD behavioral health facility is a much needed asset in our community and I am thankful CHKD is moving forward with this project, which will open in 2022.
Did you know we have more green space in downtown Norfolk? We held a dedication and ribbon cutting for Farragut Park at the corner of Duke and York Street. Admiral Farragut was the first Navy Admiral and lived in Norfolk early in his career during which time he married two Norfolk women! It is important to continue finding park opportunities with the growing population of people living and working downtown.
Norfolk was awarded the $30M Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that will go toward the St. Paul’s Transformation. This is HUGE! We are very thankful that we received this federal funding as it will enhance and accelerate the positive efforts being put forth in transforming Tidewater Gardens – the first of three public housing neighborhoods that will be revitalized in the near future. Norfolk was one of four finalists for the HUD grant and all 4 U.S. cities were awarded.
I welcome any feedback, thoughts or suggestions you might have that will make Norfolk even stronger. Please know I host office hours on the third Thursday of every month from 2:30pm-4:30pm at Norfolk City Hall. Please email me in advance if you want to schedule an appointment during this time.
Have a great weekend!