“Like No Other:” Suffolk takes a look back during State of the City

Published 5:01 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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The City of Suffolk took a trip back in time during its 2024 State of the City by celebrating the 50th anniversary of the city’s 1974 merger.

Held at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront on Tuesday, May 21, 550 attendees watched as Mayor Michael D. Duman made his address to the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce on the city’s 50th anniversary and the ongoing projects that are in development.

“Since 1974, Suffolk has evolved into a city that offers unlimited opportunity for our citizens, visitors, and businesses,” Duman said during his address. “This doesn’t happen by accident. It takes years of continual planning, budgeting and, sometimes, making difficult decisions.” 

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Along with Duman’s throwback to Suffolk in the 1970s, topped with ‘The Price is Right’-style trivia and a video montage, various ongoing city projects were recapped for attendees, such as the Port 460 Logistics Center, Paul D. Camp Community College Workforce Trades and Innovation Center, Downtown Festival Park, and Bon Secour Harbour View Medical Center. 

Bon Secours Harbour View Medical Center President Andy Spicknall also provided details of the Harbour View campus expansion during the luncheon.

“This 100,000 square foot addition will adjoin our existing campus, bringing in-patient medical and surgical services to Harbour View. While under construction, our existing services – including our emergency room – remain open and accessible to you and your families,” Spicknall said. “Construction of this expanded facility is underway and we look forward to opening in the second quarter of next year.”

Duman also touched on the importance of public safety in Suffolk, highlighting the 8% reduction in Part I criminal offenses. According to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, Part I crimes are the most serious offenses reported to law enforcement agencies.

Duman emphasized the importance of safety in the future growth of the city.

“When a community is safe, it sets the foundation for prosperity,” Duman said. “Financial stability and a strong financial position are paramount to providing opportunities for future growth.”

Duman ended by thanking attendees for celebrating the city’s 50th anniversary.

“I think you would agree that the state of the city in Suffolk is nothing short of outstanding,” he said. “We are strong and well positioned, on many levels, for further success. It’s easy to see that, after fifty short years, why Suffolk truly is ‘Like No Other.’”

Following the address, Duman took time for comments. On what he hopes longtime Suffolk residents living through the city’s growth will take away from his address, Duman says there has been a “significant amount of progress.”

“With progress, there’s always pros and cons to just about everything, every decision we make. There’s not too many rights and wrongs and blacks and whites. Most of the time, it’s in the gray. So, our challenge is to constantly weigh the pros against the cons, and that has to do with development and growth as well,” Duman said. “But we have to continue to have that development and have that growth to provide the revenues to take care of the quality of life issues that our citizens are looking for.”