“We want Suffolk to be the place you want to come home to,” said Mayor Linda Johnson, during the Hampton Roads Chamber State of the City Suffolk address on May 23rd. The Mayor detailed many of the recent highlights of various economic development the city of Suffolk and unveiled the plan for a new city website as she delivered her remarks to a record-breaking sell-out crowd at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront Hotel & Conference Center.
Suffolk has received an AAA credit rating from Fitch ratings and has been rated one of the “100 Best Places to Live.” Mayor Johnson noted that “Suffolk is outpacing the region, state, and much of the nation” in their population growth. A lot of this growth has to do with the increase in manufacturing and industry putting down roots in Suffolk. As a result of the Port of Virginia’s designation as a point of delivery for the International Coffee Exchange, Suffolk has become a “Virginia’s Caffeine Capital,” and expansion of that designation continues as in 2016 Suffolk was chosen “chosen out of a 5 state search to be the home of Peet’s coffee, bringing with it 135 new jobs,” said Mayor Johnson.
Additionally, Suffolk’s healthcare industry is also seeing great expansion. Sentara Healthcare Obici saw expansions and renovates that welcomed two new services to the campus and an investment of over 10.2 million. Sentara BelleHarbour will invest 34 million as it expands to double the size of the current hospital. Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System officially opened the Bon Secours Cancer Institute in Harbour View, and soon Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters will open Suffolk’s first children’s urgent care center in the Harbour View area of Suffolk.
“There has never been a better time to live, work, and play in Suffolk,” said Mayor Johnson. As Suffolk’s population grows, the need for new homes and new schools follows. Mayor Johnson outlined Sasser Construction’s plan for a development at the Landing at Bennet’s Creek and the construction of a new elementary school and new middle school opening in 2018, noting that the public education budget was fully funded this year. “Success in life begins with success in the classroom,” said the Mayor.
In addition to the investment in education and developments in real estate, Mayor Johnson mentioned road work lies ahead for Suffolk’s roadways stating, “the economy can’t grow if we can’t reliably move our goods and our people.” The Mayor also acknowledged and thanked the public service officers of the city, noting the impressive accreditation of the Suffolk Police Department and the Suffolk Fire Department. “Safe, well-cared for, and stable neighborhoods is the commitment of Suffolk,” said the Mayor.
Suffolk has situated itself as a hotbed of opportunity and economic development in Hampton Roads. As she closed her remarks, Mayor Johnson announced State of the City Presenting Sponsor, Towne Bank, will join the ranks of the many other businesses expanding in Suffolk as they plan to expand their Harborview Campus. 2016 brought almost “95 million dollars in new investments,” said Mayor Johnson, and she explained that these investments don’t only stand for jobs, but they stand for people, “these are real people, with real families,” impacted by this development. “We believe in the Hampton Roads region,” said Mayor Johnson, “and we know the untapped potential that lives right here.”
The Hampton Roads Chamber joins Suffolk in their goal for more companies to “YES Suffolk!” and yes to the Hampton Roads region. The Hampton Roads Chamber State of the City Series gives the Mayors of Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Suffolk the opportunity to reflect on the past year and outline their plan for a successful future.
The Hampton Roads Chamber is committed to being an inspiring ignitor, impactful advocate, and powerful economic partner of the cities of the Hampton Roads region and the State of the Cities Series is one of the key ways we meet our strategic direction.
(Pictured here from left to right: Bill Pollard, 2017 Suffolk Division Chair, Hampton Roads Chamber; Dawn Glynn, President and Regional Executive Officer, Chesapeake/Portsmouth/Suffolk, TowneBank; Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander, City of Norfolk; Mayor Linda Johnson, City of Suffolk; Bryan Stephens, CEO and President of the Hampton Roads Chamber; Diana Klink, Director, Media & Community Relations for the City of Suffolk; Patrick Roberts, Suffolk City Manager; Mayor John Rowe, City of Portsmouth.)
Thank you to our sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: Town Bank; Platinum Sponsor: Bon Secours; Gold Sponsor: Geico; Silver Sponsors: Everest College, Opportunity Inc., Optima Health; Magazine Sponsor: Virginia Business; Media Sponsor: Cox; Radio Sponsor: Sinclair Communications: A/V Sponsor: Elite Audio and Visual Elements.