I hope this email finds you well. Good news abounds in Norfolk!
Nearly halfway into my term on Norfolk City Council I have learned that relationships, trust, listening and the numerous quiet conversations that help build consensus are hallmarks in leading.
Did you hear that Norfolk has achieved a AAA Bond Rating? Standard & Poor’s elevated our rating to AAA in February. Norfolk is now one of 16 municipalities in Virginia that has achieved this monumental financial position. Strong fiscal policies along with planning for sea-level rise, storm preparedness, and climate change all contributed to Standard & Poor’s designating this level of financial strength.
And, did you hear that Carnival Cruise Line has made an unprecedented five year commitment to Norfolk? Carnival will host cruises from the Peter G. Decker Half Moone Cruise Center to destinations including the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean. Carnival will have one of their larger ships — the Carnival Magic — that holds nearly 3,600 passengers, come to Norfolk. In order to accommodate these larger ships, Norfolk will upgrade the cruise terminal to include a replacement gangway that will accommodate the larger ships traveling the seas this day and age. This larger gangway should attract other cruise lines with larger ships and position Norfolk as an ideal east coast destination.
I had the opportunity to speak at the Ghent Area Ministry (GAM) Annual Luncheon. The GAM is comprised of 18 congregations who assist the homeless, those in need of medical assistance, aid with transportation with HRT and Greyhound, clothing and more. It is an impressive organization that has served our community for 20 years. I am thankful for their ongoing commitment.
Revitalizing our city parks is vital to our neighborhoods. Recreation Parks & Open Space upgraded the play equipment at the Riverpoint Playground. A new slide, climbing area, and easier access to the park has made this neighborhood park a wonderful community asset. Play on!
Next month I look forward to providing an update on the actions of the Virginia General Assembly. The General Assembly is wrapping up a 60 day biennial session that will conclude March 7. Our areas of focus include transportation, education, coastal and environmental resilience, career and technical education, commercial gaming, off-shore wind, and much more.
Finally, there was a recent event introducing the new Tidewater Community College (TCC) president, Dr. Marcia Conston. TCC is instrumental in educating and training the workforce needed for our industries in the region. TCC is an excellent partner with Norfolk Public Schools and I look forward to a stronger partnership moving forward.
Your thoughts and feedback are welcome and office visits have proven helpful to learn more and more about the opportunities and challenges in our great city.
Grady and I enjoyed a long walk to the Wisconsin this past weekend. He loves his long downtown walks.