‘Strong’ showing so far

Published 9:12 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson stood before nearly 400 gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center and presented a stunning report on the status of the city and the amazing growth that the city has seen and is anticipating.

Throughout the speech — which was laced with nautical terms offering a metaphor of navigating through rough waters — Johnson said the city had fared well in the ongoing tough economic conditions thanks to Suffolk’s diverse and growing business base.

Even though we have, at times, questioned some of the decisions made at the city’s administrative level, we cannot sit here today and not commend the tireless work of the city’s staff — meeting the challenges they have faced in this economic downturn, while at the same time addressing the needs of an ever-increasing population.

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Although Suffolk has performed well in comparison to its counterparts throughout Hampton Roads, it is by no means as strong as it can be.

As the city grows, there will be growing pains that must be worked through.

There must be continued investment into the city’s infrastructure, including our roads and bridges.

In working with school officials, there needs to be a more solid solution to long-term education funding.

And, there must be a stronger effort to unite those who live in south Suffolk and north Suffolk, for we all live in Suffolk.

What faces Suffolk in the coming years, compared to its neighbors, is a blessing in many ways.

As a city, we would much rather face the rising tide of economic and residential expansion than watch the tide rush out.

Mayor Johnson had every reason to be proud of the past year’s results.

“It’s clear to see that in Suffolk, we didn’t simply weather the storm,” she said. “Since we couldn’t change the wind, we adjusted our sails.”