VDDA lauds Suffolk

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 23, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The official groundbreaking for the new Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center isn’t until next month.

The Professional Building and College Court are still under renovation.

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Nonetheless, the city has already reaped multiple awards recognizing its downtown revitalization efforts from the Virginia Downtown Development Association.

During the organization’s recent convention, Suffolk walked away with five honors, including:

— Outstanding Local Government Official – Mayor E. Dana Dickens III, for his leadership in the creation of the Downtown Initiatives Plan and the Unified Development Ordinance;

— Downtown Volunteer – John C. Harrell, for his leadership as chairman of the Industrial Development Authority and his role in structuring three public/private partnerships: the new Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center, the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts, and College Court;

— Outstanding Downtown Organization – The Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society, for its advocacy in saving historic structures, including the Prentis House, Seaboard Train Station and Railroad Museum and College Court;

— Outstanding Downtown Promotion – Market Days in Historic Suffolk, as coordinated by the downtown development director or tourism director;

— Exemplary Downtown Building Improvement – The Prentis House.

Beverley Coleman, the VDDA’s vice president, said a tremendous amount of progress has been made with Suffolk’s downtown in recent years.

&uot;One feeling I get looking at Suffolk is that there is a concentrated effort in getting downtown turned around,&uot; Coleman said. &uot;A lot of dedicated individuals are working to make that happen.

&uot;A key contributor to Suffolk’s success is the belief by city leaders that downtown development is just as important as industrial development.&uot;