Hope for the future

Published 9:06 pm Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It’s not every day that the mayor of Suffolk gets to stand in front of more than 400 people and announce the creation of more than 200 new jobs in the city.

Tuesday was that sort of day for Mayor Linda Johnson.

Standing before a packed ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Suffolk, she proudly proclaimed the decision by California Cartage Company to sign a lease for space in the Virginia Commerce Center on Kenyon Road. The company will be the first to locate on the 101-acre site built in 2006.


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California Cartage is a 67-year-old company in the business of operating warehousing and distribution centers across the United States, Mexico and Canada. Its interest in Suffolk was a connected to the city’s proximity to the Port of Virginia in Portsmouth and the easy access that can be had to both railroads and interstate highways. The Kenyon Road location also will allow the company to provide better service to a major client, Target, which operates an import warehouse in the same part of Suffolk.

Having spec buildings sitting empty on Kenyon Road in this economy must have been a hard thing for both the developers and city officials to live with. But the fact that the company is making this commitment in the midst of such a weak economy can be seen as an encouraging indicator of its commitment both to Target and to Suffolk.

And the fact that the city can look forward to more than 200 new positions — even if they’re not likely to be the high-paying jobs needed to replace those that will be lost with the realignment of U.S. Joint Forces Command — is sure to be encouraging to those people in Suffolk still looking for work after long months of unemployment.

It was fitting that the mayor chose the State of the City address — the event that celebrates the city’s accomplishments and its future direction — to make the announcement. There is plenty of reason to be proud to be in Suffolk, just as there are many reasons to be hopeful about the city’s future.