Buried amid all of the storm coverage over the last few days was an important announcement made during a visit by U.S. Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro that Norfolk will be a major recipient of federal funds to help fight sea level rise.
More than $120 million is being awarded to projects in Virginia as part of the National Disaster Resilience Competition, with most of that money going to support two major initiatives in Norfolk.
One project, in the Ohio Creek watershed, will mean the elevation of parts of Kimball Terrace and Westminster Avenue, improving marshes in Chesterfield Heights and creating water control systems with new berms, walls and an underground detention area. Another funded project, called a “coastal resilience accelerator” will focus on business innovation.
One Norfolk plan for the Newton’s Creek watershed was not funded. In fact, Virginia had sought more than $490 million worth of work, showing how serious we in the Commonwealth and in Norfolk take this issue.
Scientists believe that sea levels will be rising in coming decades and that cities such as Norfolk must be made ready.
Norfolk’s strategy goes far beyond preparing for frequent floods. City leaders correctly have begun to lay out an evolving plan for rethinking the future of Norfolk and turning problems into opportunities.
We can do it.
Norfolk citizens have faced adversity countless times. Resilience is in our DNA. We know how to overcome. But all of Norfolk must be kept informed and provided with genuine opportunities to persevere and to benefit.