Chesapeake’s mayor says at State of the City that regional efforts bolster city’s growth

Virginia’s second most populous city continues to grow and thrive thanks to regional efforts, Mayor Rick West said Wednesday during Chesapeake’s State of the City address.

“I know that this address is about our city, but I think it’s fair to say that without the tremendous alliance of the mayors in this region, our individual successes would be much smaller,” West said.

About 800 people attended the annual event hosted by the Hampton Roads Chamber at the Chesapeake Conference Center.

West pointed to Total Fiber Recovery @ Chesapeake‘s $80 million investment in a waterfront industrial facility that transforms recycled paper and corrugated cardboard into pulp for the paper industry. The facility is slated to open soon, according to its website, and will create 68 jobs with an annual payroll of $5 million.

“Chesapeake continues to seek opportunities to recycle and redirect waste material in ways that are both environmentally friendly and economically sound not only for today, but for tomorrow,” he said.

He talked about the city’s downtown area of Greenbrier, home to Summit Pointe and the region’s largest employment center.

“The potential for growth coupled with a strong desire to attract amenities to entice visitors and residents makes Greenbrier a link in the future of Chesapeake,” he said. “Who knew that it was destined to be the hub of our city and the region?”

Residents continue asking about the future of Greenbrier Mall, West said. He added that while discussions are ongoing, the ideas and rumors circulating about such a prime, large site are vast.

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In other parts of the city, West said a groundbreaking is on the horizon in the heart of historic South Norfolk for a new municipal building. Located at the intersection of Bainbridge Boulevard and Poindexter Street, it will serve as a satellite site and one-stop shop for the city treasurer and commissioner of the revenue. The building, complete with an attached parking garage open to the public, will include a police precinct and other functions, he said.

“We know it’s going to be another gem for the revitalization of South Norfolk,” West said.

Plans are also underway for a new aquatic facility at The Dr. Clarence V. Cuffee Community Center.

“It’s not merely a swimming pool,” he said. “This facility will provide family activities, swimming lessons, therapeutic programs and much more to the community for years to come.”

Even with all of the growth, West said the city is still blessed with extensive, beautiful open spaces throughout its 350 square miles.

“There’s a lot happening in Chesapeake,” he said. “The state of our city is stronger today than it’s ever been.”

Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836,