The “reshaping” of Virginia Beach as described by city manager Jim Spore in an article in the Virginian-Pilot on May 31 and comments by Mayor Sessoms in a June 4th article provide examples of the reach of the Virginia Beach Power Centers and further demonstrates that in Virginia Beach “it is too late now .”
It is too late unless citizens of Virginia Beach finally begin to wake up and realize who actually runs our city and will “reshape” our city. It ain’t us!
Even the Virginian-Pilot recognizes where the power comes from when the writer states, regarding the relationship between City Manager Spore and others, “He finds his strongest allies in the city’s business elite and their social network.” (Business elite = Power Centers?)
City manager Spore and our city Council plan to use light rail – a favorite project of the developers – to “connect six of the city’s designated strategic growth areas with the Tide in Norfolk.” Such reshaping (redevelopment) would please the developers who will build the stations and all the condos and apartments and, of course, will be a boon to those who own office buildings in downtown Norfolk.
In the same article our city manager identified the Town Center and the Laskin Road Gateway projects as prime examples of places to “live, work and play.” And he added, “This whole notion of sense of place is very important.”
If sense of place is so important and we want people to “live, work and play” in Virginia Beach, why should we build light rail to send citizens of Virginia Beach to work in another city? The concept of sense of place and reshaping Virginia Beach to be a great place to “live, work and play” contradicts the whole idea of light rail. If Virginia Beach is, in fact, a great place to “live, work and play” – with emphasis on work – why get on a trolley car to go to Norfolk to work?
We should apply the same logic to the strategic growth areas and identify those areas as great places to “live, work and play.” And we don’t need light rail to connect the Strategic Growth Areas to one another. “Sense of place” and “live, work and play” in Virginia Beach are great sounding mottos. Too bad that concept directly contradicts light rail.
Mayor Sessoms, in the June 3 article, wants to give a 10 acre plot in Virginia Beach to the local YMCA to build an Olympic-size pool. The Y would conduct swimming meets which would then bring in competitors, coaches, staff and visitors to help fill up the hotels. (I wonder who will benefit most.) The mayor stated that it would be hard for the Y to make money on an Olympic-size pool.
Oh? So why should the taxpayers help build it?
And by the way, has council instructed staff to calculate a long-term cost-benefit analysis in terms of real estate and sales taxes if the same land is sold to a company that would build a business in that place?
“Reshaping” Virginia Beach by building light rail and other projects to satisfy the Power Centers makes no sense – unless you are a member of the Power Centers.
So, will Virginia Beach be “reshaped” to satisfy the Power Centers or for the primary benefit of the citizens?
But, if it is too late, who cares? Anybody?