A welcome part of the plan
Published 10:05 pm Monday, July 28, 2014
Homearama has always been an odd bird from an economic development standpoint, especially in a place like Suffolk, where much of the activity in the housing market is from people moving into the community from outside its borders.
On the one hand, Homearama is a great way to show off a community to folks who are looking for a new home — and especially for those who might otherwise be unfamiliar with that community. This year’s event, scheduled for three weekends in October and November in The Waterfront at Parkside community in North Suffolk, will be a perfect time to disabuse a new crop of people of the long-outdated notion that Suffolk is too remote and too backwards to be a good place to live or to locate a Hampton Roads business.
The Parkside community is not just a gem for North Suffolk, it’s also one of the premier neighborhoods west of the tunnels, and the amenities and upgrades it offers are available for far less than one would pay to be on what’s the wrong side of the Elizabeth River anyway.
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More and more people are coming to realize that Suffolk is the hottest place to be in Hampton Roads these days, and with that trend only expected to continue for the foreseeable future, events like Homearama give the city an opportunity to put its best foot forward.
Most visitors to the event, after all, will never buy a home in Parkside. But on the way back home, they might see something that captures their interest in one of the other neighborhoods along Bennett’s Pasture Road or Bridge Road or Nansemond Parkway. Or they might decide to drive downtown for a bite to eat after visiting the show and fall in love with one of the new loft apartments or one of historic Suffolk’s beautiful old homes.
So the folks in economic development are understandably thrilled the city will be hosting Homearama this year. On the other side of the fence, though, are those who, also understandably, wish Suffolk would always remain the bucolic, peaceful place it was when they grew up here or moved here 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Homearama, they believe, will do little more than contribute to the changes they already hate to see taking place in Suffolk.
But wishing change wouldn’t happen will not keep it from taking place. Growth is coming to Suffolk, and there’s little that can be done to stop it, even if that were the preferable route to take. The best that can be done is to manage the growth well — to coax it into certain places, like North Suffolk, while preserving the rural character of other communities.
For the most part, Suffolk officials have worked hard to have a plan that achieves just such a managed-growth approach. Homearama fits right into the plan, and it should be a welcome part of the city’s economic development approach, no matter where in Suffolk you live.