The Good Life

 Rick Saunders
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Star Rating 6/28/2007
Norfolk, Virginia, is a southeastern seaboard city with reliable lifelines and a very strong heart. Norfolk’s heritage is largely derived from the businesses of light agriculture, clean manufacturing, burgeoning maritime commerce, military affairs, and suburbia. Cultural diversity is legendary in the 400-year old city located on the southern shores of the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. I first saw the Bay area and the city of Norfolk in the early 1980s, courtesy of the US military; I moved to Virginia from bustling southern California. Norfolk is not my “hometown,” per se, I am a Midwesterner by birth and childrearing, but the city and region always feels comfortable and welcoming. I am impressed by eastern Virginia’s pleasant climate 10 months of the year, abundant bay and ocean activities, diverse foods, hospitable people, small colleges, plentiful media, clean neighborhoods, and contemporary lifestyle. I have owned local homes and rented condos since arriving to the area over two decades ago. I have been fortunate to own and rent homes in desirable locations, ergo, turning over in-demand real estate is profitable. I feel physically safe anywhere most of the time. A major high-rise building boom is underway in the downtowns of Norfolk and the adjacent city of Virginia Beach in 2007. By 2010-15 the two cities will have truly recognizable skylines complete with major business centers linked by light rail, first-class shopping experiences, and top-of-the-line dining and entertainment. Major downtown area investments are planned well into the future. However, as the downtown and regional population density increases, so do citizen’s demands for enhanced city services. Demands on services are on a steady rise. Service demands are rapidly pushing up a wide range of traditionally low taxes and fees. By the middle of the next decade, the area will be well above the average cost of living, taxing, and dying for the US. Here is my bottom line on Norfolk: (Lifestyle goods) easy ocean access, comfortable climate, sociable peoples, diverse food choices, plentiful mid-paying jobs, reasonably priced and good quality housing today, mid-range cost of living, easy-going lifestyles, respected higher education system, abundant medical care, caring neighbors, and the lightly used airport!; (Lifestyle others) crammed roadways and tunnels, under-funded public transportation, increasingly costly housing and higher property taxes / fees, pockets of very serious crime,



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