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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Dec 29

Newport News Now - A Year in Review

Posted on December 29, 2017 at 10:05 AM by Communications Department

2017 was a year of events, activities and undertakings both large and small.  Here’s a review of some of the bigger happenings we saw this year.

12-29 year in reviewWe celebrated “100 Years of Ella” all year long, paying tribute to The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, who was born in Newport News on April 25, 1917. Events and activities throughout 2017 recognized and honored the life and music of the jazz legend. These events  included Ella’s Place, a pop-up jazz club, NN {heart} Ella letters that traveled the city, the annual Ella Fitzgerald Music Festival, and the commissioning and installation of a mural at the corner of 26th and Jefferson. In addition, Ella themed programming was weaved into City events during this centennial anniversary of her birth.

Elite Airways announced it was postponing plans to launch service this year to New York/Newark and Islip/Long Island from Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. 

City Manager Jim Bourey resigned his position effective Mar. 7 and City Council immediately named Assistant City Manager Cindy Rohlf as acting City Manager. Three weeks later Council named Rohlf Newport News’ first female City Manager.

5-22 ocmThe 3rd annual Newport News One City Marathon took place the weekend of Mar. 10-12. While the weather was quite cold, the turnout of runners and volunteers was incredible and made for a successful weekend of activities and races!

Every week we highlighted a local business in our Friday Business Now section.

12-29 waterworksNewport News Waterworks launched a new mobile app that allows customers to access account information and view and pay bills all from a smartphone or tablet. The app is free for Android and iOs users.

The city had a few department directors retire or move on during the year. Louis Martinez is the new director of Waterworks, Susan Goodwin is the new Finance director and the Library System’s new director is Sonia Alcantara-Antoine. Police Chief Rick Myers retired from policing in the summer and Assistant Chief Mike Grinstead is serving as Acting Chief of Police until a replacement is named. 

In May, Sister Cities of Newport News welcomed more than 30 Chinese artists from Chengdu in Sichuan Province for a “pop-up” exhibition entitled NO BORDERS featuring over 100 original oil paintings carried from China and framed on-site in City Center.

Working in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the City launched the Know Your Zone campaign. The campaign encourages residents to determine  the newly identified evacuation zones in which they live and be prepared for Hurricane season.

Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. announced plans to expand its Newport News presence and create an additional campus in City Center at Oyster Point. The new campus will house 1,400 employees in information technology and other corporate functions. As part of the expansion, Ferguson will invest $82 million and create 434 new jobs.

12-29 artNewport News Public Art Foundation unveiled its latest sculpture in our outdoor art gallery – Hammer Tribute. At the corner of City Center and Canon boulevards, this art was designed to pay tribute to hardworking people.

The City celebrated the Southeast Community this year with a new summer series. The Southeast Community Celebration, held at King-Lincoln Park on three Saturdays in the summer, included a gospel concert, movie night with games and children’s activities, and a jazz concert.

NNPD launched new software that allows citizens to report some crimes on their own. NNPDOnline is accessible through any internet-enabled device and allows citizens to report minor, non-violent offenses on their own time without the presence of a police officer.

12-29 PRASThe Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter participated in the national Clear the Shelters campaign this summer and had a record number of animals adopted. With 221 adoptions over the course of the month long campaign, 29 were done on the last day – a shelter record!

Throughout the year citizens across Newport News actively participated in the review and update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, a guide for managing the long-term growth and physical development of the city. The plan is expected to be finalized early next year.

In its 4th year, the City’s Summer Training and Enrichment Program (STEP) provided 435 Newport News youth and young adults ages 16-24 valuable paid work experience, mentorships, and other training to introduce them to world of work.

12-29 building our futureMayor McKinley Price gave the 2017 State of the City Address in October at the Marriott with the theme Building Our Future One Block At A Time. The address can be viewed in its entirety on NNTV’s website.

New affordable housing options in downtown Newport News opened this year. Brennan Pointe is a $7.4 million development offering 2- & 3-bedroom apartments to those making 60% or less of the area’s median income.

A new Residential Rental Property Inspection program was launched this year. The program ensures that tenants are living in safe and sanitary conditions and helps to prevent single family homes from becoming illegal boarding houses. Three inspection districts were established within the downtown and Southeast Community. 

12-29 moving wallThe Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall, a half size replica of the Memorial Wall in D.C., made a stop at Huntington Park in September.

Demolition of the remaining structures at the old City Prison Farm site took place and an archaeological study of the property is underway. The study, being conducted by a team of archaeologists from New South Associates, is an investigation of Warwicktown, a 17th century county seat, and will provide a greater understanding of the history of the site.

12-29 cniOver the past year, residents, local leaders and various community partners have been working together to develop a community-driven transformation plan for a portion of the Southeast Community, including the Ridley Place public housing complex and surrounding area, as part of a Choice Neighborhoods Initiative planning grant the City and NN Redevelopment and Housing Authority received last year from HUD. In November, the City submitted a $30 million grant application to HUD for implementation of the plan.

The City experienced a revenue shortfall in the General Fund for FY2017, which ended June 30, 2017. Due in part to $4.8 million in overtime costs for Fire and Police, $1.0 million for HRT’s shortfall, $3.6 million less in real estate taxes, and overly optimistic revenue projections that were not met, the city pulled $3.8 million from its reserves to cover the shortfall. This is the first time since 2002 that the City has had to use reserves to balance the budget.

The Economic Development Authority of the City of Newport News was awarded a $500,000 competitive grant by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to fund the continued cleanup of the former Chase Packaging site in the Southeast Community.   

Dr. Ashby C. Kilgore, superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, announced her retirement after 10 years of service. Kilgore was the longest serving superintendent of Newport News Public Schools since its consolidation with Warwick County Schools in 1958. Brian Nichols has been named Acting Superintendent while the school board searches for a new superintendent.