Renowned for its history, cultural and educational institutions since its founding in 1699, Williamsburg continues to receive accolades in the 21st century. Many know it as a vacation destination, and its been voted #1 Best Family Vacation and Historic Destination by visitors at Trip Advisor and Budget Travel. Williamsburg also prides itself on its green efforts, one of the few communities in Virginia to have earned Platinum Certification (the highest rank) as a Green Government by the Virginia Municipal League. The Department of Environmental Equality gave the City’s Public Works Shop an E4 Designation -- again, the highest honor, and the first shop in the state to receive it. Another example of the value the City places on lessening its carbon footprint to improve quality of life, the City supports its local farmers and the Williamsburg Farmers Market was chosen as one of America’s Favorite Farmers Markets by the American Farmland Trust in 2012 (the second time the market’s been so honored).
North America. International Economic Development Council, 2012. The City of Virginia Beach announced Summer, 2012 that the Inclusion and Diversity Council (IDC) was recently honored by two national organizations for its efforts to ensure that the city organization embraces diversity and creates and sustains an environment of inclusion for all employees. The IDC, formed in 2009, consists of employees who volunteer their time to help the city reach this goal. The IDC was awarded the Champion of Diversity Award by the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA). The Champion of Diversity Award is given to an organization that demonstrates a dedication to fostering equal opportunity and exceptional commitment to diversity. Also in Summer, 2012, for the 31st consecutive year, the City of Virginia Beach has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
NEXT TO COME:
Future Outlook of Hampton Roads:
The sequestration mechanism triggered across-the-board reductions of $1.2 trillion dollars (over ten years) on all Federal programs excluding Medicaid, Social Security, and Federal pay. The Federal government, particularly the Defense industry, plays an important role in the regional economy. Historically, Hampton Roads has outperformed the national economy during periods of high defense spending, and underperformed when the Department of Defense suffered spending cuts. The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission conducted. Analysis indicates a large decline in regional income, with real personal incomes declining throughout the decade to a full impact of $1.47 billion of real disposable personal income lost in 2013 to $1.58 billion by 2022. Regional employment would decline by 26,500 by 2014, but would begin to recover
very slowly moving toward 2022, as lower wages would encourage other industries to move into the region. Still, the region would recover to 2012 levels of employment by 2016, assuming that national growth returned to long term averages. Regional Gross Product would be $3.06 billion on average through 2022. Despite the forecasts, the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) reported in 2012 that unemployment across the region has steadily dropped and that Hampton Roads was still overall below the national average. As of April, 2013, the Virginian-Pilot reported that unemployment had fallen to 5.3%, the lowest percentage since December, 2008. Ultimately, the Hampton Roads region is an area with a diverse collection of resources and an amazing population of residents that will meet future challenges with goal-oriented strategies and positive results.
Further Mobilization of Hampton Roads • Virginia Beach Light-rail supporters overwhemingly
in 2012 approved the referendum, according to the State Board of Elections. Though the referendum was nonbinding, the City Council will pursue lightrail financing and development options. In Spring 2013, a $1.8 million study of extending light rail to Norfolk Naval Station has begun, as reported by the Virginian-Pilot and expected to take 15 months.
• The first passenger train/Amtrak to serve South
Hampton Roads since 1977 pulled away from its platform at Harbor Park in Norfolk in December, 2012, with trips to Richmond and Washington. State rail officials want to eventually bolster the service with two more trains, expanding passengers’ options beyond its one departure time.
• The Virginia Port Authority reported that it is ready for the increase of freighters from the Panama Canal Expansion expected for completion in 2015. The Board also reported that the Port of Virginia continues to be the fastest growing container port on the Eastern U.S. coast. Furthermore, after 18 months of review, the board of commissioners of the Virginia Port Authority decided to drop all bids for port privatization.
• VirginiaBusiness.com reported that the Elizabeth
River tunnels expansion (Downtown, Midtown, MLK extension) began in January of last year and completion date is expected in 2018.
For more information regarding upcoming impacts in the Hampton Roads region: The Future of Hampton Roads, Inc. http://fhrinc.org/
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COASTAL VIRGINIA Living in Hampton Roads 2013-14 edition