IMPACT Talk Recap on the Norfolk and Virginia Beach Vision Planning
Over 80 professionals gathered for tHRive’s IMPACT Talk “A Look Into the Future with Norfolk and Virginia Beach Vision Planning” on October 4th from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Clark Nexsen. The group drew a wide range of attendees from different fields of expertise and several generations of professionals.
Cindy Arocho and Peggy Layne from Envision Virginia Beach 2040, Mel Price and Joe LaFond from Re:Vision Norfolk and Joash Schulman and John Martin from VB CONNEX presented their comprehensive visions that will shape the region and emphasized how millennials play a pivotal role in realizing that future.
Arocho and Layne shared Envision Virginia Beach 2040’s four bold steps that provide clarity and direction to move toward the city’s desired future. The steps include regionalism, increasing the level of commitment and investing in early childhood education, multi-modal transportation connecting the region, establishing an ongoing ‘Vision to Action Citizen Coalition’ to monitor and measure City Council’s planning and implementation of the community vision. They encouraged Millennials to engage by attending their public meetings the second Friday of each month from 9:00 am to 11:00 am in the Strategic Growth Area Office at Town Center.
Price and Lafond of Re:Vision Norfolk focused on the importance of placemaking, which involves creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being along with connecting living, working and social places. They cited many successful stories of this happening across the country and the benefits the communities have seen in their economy and the well-being of their residents. They claim the guiding principles for placemaking are activity, connectivity and sustainability. They also updated the attendees on the Friends of the Elizabeth River Trail Foundation and how the trail system would increase property values and tax base. They included information on how employers are demanding these amenities.
Schulman and Martin of VB Connex provided further insight into the transportation discussion with a focus on the current opportunity of connecting light rail in the region. They provided facts on how light rail is a proven success in other markets such as Charlotte, Denver, and Minneapolis amongst others. Light rail extension as part of Hampton Roads Regional 21st Century Transportation Plan was a central theme of their presentation. They encouraged tHRive members to know the facts behind the light rail extension and urged those who reside in Virginia Beach to “vote yes” on November 8th for the extension to Virginia Beach Town Center.
The common theme of the evening that was echoed through all presentations was the need for a reliable, connected multi-modal transportation system. tHRive polled its members in March and found that 92.5% of young professionals are in favor of the Virginia Beach light rail extension. In another recent poll tHRive conducted, 59.6% of Millennials believe public transportation is the most important issue for the progress of the region.
The IMPACT Talk culminated with an engaging question and answer panel discussion and one-on-one networking with the attendees.
tHRive would like to extend a huge thank you to Clark Nexsen for hosting the event.