Hard work will pay off

Published 11:47 pm Friday, September 9, 2011

City officials have been busy in recent months helping the Tidewater Builders Association prepare for its annual Homearama event in North Suffolk, but they also expect a big payoff.

Since Homearama’s return to Suffolk was announced earlier this year, city staff have been busy pushing to get building permits issued in time, setting up special events support, helping to promote the event and more.

But the payoff is likely to come through increased tax revenue as people visiting the homes tour shop in nearby stores, fill up their tanks at nearby gas stations and grab a bite to eat at nearby restaurants. The last time Homearama was held in the Riverfront area, more than 100,000 people visited the event during its two-week run.

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Even more revenue will come in as people purchase the homes. Some of those transactions have already occurred.

Kevin Hughes, the city’s economic development director, says the event also is a good opportunity to promote Suffolk to visitors who might be looking to make Suffolk their permanent home. Much of that promotion will be done at the city’s vendor tent and in the Suffolk House, which will feature interior design that highlights the city’s character. Suffolk maps, Mr. Peanut memorabilia and children’s rooms featuring the school colors of Suffolk’s high schools will be part of that character.

All things considered, Homearama will likely be a good moneymaker for the city. It is due to bring in thousands of dollars in taxes for relatively little monetary output. And longer-lasting effects will include people thinking of Suffolk when they need to purchase a gift or desire a night out on the town. All of those are benefits for the city’s residents.