Issues

Economic and Workforce Development

Economic Development is essential for any economy to thrive. It creates jobs, grows businesses, and generates the revenue necessary to invest in programs and services that matter most to our citizens.

Our commitment to supporting small businesses encompasses:

  • The Capital Access Program, tailored to aid new, existing, and expanding enterprises lacking access to conventional financing.
  • The Enterprise Zone Program, furnishing state and local tax incentives to businesses that invest in and generate employment within the city’s designated Enterprise Zones.
  • The Commercial Corridor Program, furnishing crucial capital for enhancing the economic vigor of our city’s primary streets and neighborhoods.

Moreover, Norfolk’s Economic Development Authority has secured a $250,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to extend personalized technical assistance to minority-owned businesses. This assistance includes expertise in business consulting, accounting, marketing/PR, and website development.

As businesses establish, expand, and relocate to Norfolk, we actively contribute to the expansion and diversification of our economy. Be it starting up, relocating, or expanding, Norfolk welcomes and fosters a thriving business environment!

Education

Education is economic development; and city, business, and community leaders are devoted to working with Norfolk Public Schools to create a world-class education system that provides every student the tools and opportunities to succeed.

The FY 2024 budget allocated a total of $395.3 million for Norfolk Public Schools, marking a $10.5 million increase from FY 2023. Key funding specifics include:

  • Commonwealth’s contribution of $239.6 million and city’s contribution of $155.7 million to the total.
  • The city’s commitment of $97 million beyond the Commonwealth’s required local effort for school funding.
  • Notably, city support for NPS has grown by 28.7% since FY 2019, while state support has increased by 21.9%.

The city’s five-year capital plan outlines:

  • $140 million for Maury High School in FY 2026.
  • $37.5 million for Norview Elementary School in FY 2027.
  • $26.9 million for acquiring and replacing school buses, as well as addressing school maintenance.

Public Safety and Neighborhoods

We are investing in law enforcement, emergency medical services, and our Park Ranger unit to enhance public safety and protect citizens and communities.

The FY 2024 budget upheld support for crucial public safety endeavors, which encompassed:

  • Sustaining our collaboration with the Newark Community Street Team (NCST), including resources for additional contracted vendors to establish an enduring grassroots street safety program.
  • Introducing a novel city role dedicated to coordinating equity in policing, partnering with NCST, and facilitating a citizen review panel.
  • Launching a new position in the NPD, titled Public Safety Aid, designed to bolster recruitment by:
  • Offering employment to young individuals (ages 18 and up) aspiring for a career in public safety.
  • Preparing these employees for the Police Academy.
  • Assisting NPD in training the next generation of police officers, with a focus on community engagement.

Rising Sea Level and Resilience

Norfolk is actively addressing climate change impacts such as rising sea levels and increased flooding. The city is executing strategies to adapt to these changes and enhance its resilience against their effects.

Our residents, civic leagues, and other non-profits are designing and installing innovative water retention systems and green infrastructure to mitigate flooding caused by stormwater.

In the FY 2024 budget, the city continued investing in its neighborhoods through initiatives such as:

  • Allocating $53.3 million for capital improvement projects, which includes the rejuvenation of the St. Paul’s community and the LED streetlight conversion endeavor.
  • Dedicating $2 million to the Granby Street Corridor project.
  • Allocating $3.45 million for citywide tennis court renovations.
  • Providing $123 million for projects promoting coastal, economic, and neighborhood resilience, which includes:
  • $56.6 million for the Coastal Storm Risk Management project.
  • $40 million for ‘behind the wall’ initiatives targeting flooding mitigation in various neighborhoods.

Transportation

Norfolk, the most multimodal city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, boasts a thriving economy largely fueled by Norfolk International Airport. This airport is a cornerstone of our prosperity, contributing over 17,000 jobs and an impressive $2.2 billion in economic impact. With the distinction of being the sole FAA-designed medium hub airport in the state, Norfolk International Airport achieved a milestone last year, marking its 85-year history with a record-breaking performance, serving over 4 million passengers.

As the demand for passenger rail service continues to surge, Amtrak has answered the call by introducing a third roundtrip train connecting Norfolk to Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, the allure of Carnival Cruise Line has led to a remarkable expansion in Norfolk’s cruise offerings for 2023. From May through October, vacationers from all corners of the country will set sail from The Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, embarking on captivating journeys to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, and New England.

Excitingly, Norfolk’s reputation as a cruise destination is set to soar even higher in 2025, as it becomes the Homeport for Carnival Sunshine, ushering in a year-round schedule of weekly cruises. This move is expected to welcome around 200,000 passengers, generating a substantial economic impact of nearly $25 million for the city.