What’s next for Portsmouth? Mayor delivers State of the City Address

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Mayor John Rowe highlighted successful businesses during his annual State of the City address on Friday afternoon.

"I'm here to tell you with confidence and a little enthusiasm that the state of our city is excellent," Rowe told the crowd at the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel.

Unlike other Hampton Roads mayors, Rowe didn't make any major announcements during the speech. "I can stand at the lectern and make pronouncements and announcements about projects that might not really come to be reality. What I want to do today is talk about the realities," he said.

Rowe says the reality is that Portsmouth is a good place to do business and says some announcements could be coming soon. "We have things that are in the works and it would be premature to announce that," Rowe said.

The goal was to clear up any negative perceptions people might have about the city, Rowe said. He says people here have a good quality of life. "You might have a negative assumption about Portsmouth. Well, park the assumptions and look at the facts. The facts are amazing," he said.

Looking into the future, he says the city is committed to bringing more development to the downtown waterfront area. He says that could mean the city relocates the jail and city hall in favor of homes with waterfront views.

"People want to live on the waterfront. They want to have those great views. They want to not only have the view, but to walk to restaurants downtown," he said.