Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck gave this year’s State of the City address virtually in a presentation by the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. There was a more somber but still optimistic tone, with the theme “One for All and All for One."
"In the face of a worldwide pandemic, I have seen our community pull together. I have watched businesses shift their product lines to items desperately needed and hard to find,” said Tuck. He added that, “even during this time of uncertainty, investors continue to bank on Hampton.”
The presentation highlighted several large developments moving forward: Huntington Ingalls’ Unmanned Center of Excellence, the Virginia Tech seafood research facility, Langley Air Force Base gaining an F-22 training unit, a million square feet of retail, apartments and townhomes downtown fronting on Settlers Landing Road, and several other upscale apartment buildings across the city.
Business owners and a non-profit shared their challenges and successes:
Chelsea Greenwood of CrossFit Buckroe, describing how her members came together to help each other;
Dana Mitchell, who opened Hampton Roads Fogging and Sanitation to supplement her ButtarCups face painting business;
Daryl Crosby, an educator who opened Encore Music and Entertainment with his wife, Jaryn;
Charlene Clark of Signature Canvas Makers, who shifted from making sails to making masks;
Skip Ferebee of the YMCA, which remained open to offer childcare for working parents; and
Lashonda Sandford of Scratch Bakery, who is planning an expansion (and also appearing on the 2020 Food Network Holiday Baking Championship).
City Manager Mary Bunting shared that city staff "epitomizes the theme of 'One For All and All For One,' pitching in to work in departments that needed extra help, cleaning, painting, helping to support food drives, supply handouts and work on drive-through coronavirus testing – even if that wasn’t in their job description.
Superintendent Jeffery Smith highlighted that, despite the virtual learning caused by the coronavirus, Hampton City Schools students continue to learn. When students return, they will find many new specialized real-life settings for many of the Academies of Hampton.
Economic Development Director Chuck Rigney highlighted the support the city has provided to small businesses, and listed businesses that have opened or plan to open.
"Recognizing the tough times we are in – and the resiliency we possess as a community – I know we’ll emerge from this pandemic as a strong and vibrant city,” said Tuck, expecting that next year’s State of the City would again be an in-person event and “I will be highlighting many new developments bringing tax revenues and jobs to Hampton."
He also introduced the city’s new brand. "Although largely developed before the pandemic, the brand speaks to the theme I’ve been sharing this morning. Hampton is 'one for all' – a city with many different neighborhoods, iconic structures, historical impacts, water features and military influences. But we are also 'all for one,' because we all work together to make Hampton the best city it can be."