VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Mayor Bobby Dyer stressed inclusion and positivity during his first State of the City address since taking office.
"We're going to bring people to the table. We're going to be a city of a level playing field, inclusion, and make feel people feel like they're really part of the city," said Dyer.
Dyer spoke in front of more than 1,200 people at the Convention Center. He says he wants to get people engaged and showcased a website where the city can get feedback. "This is how we can solicit information," he said.
Dyer acknowledged that he hasn't always supported every public-private partnership in the city, but said they're needed in the future to help pay for upgrades to storm water management. He believes flooding and sea-level rise are major problems for the city's future.
"We have a tremendous bill that're going to have to pay," he said. "We're going to have to pay for all of our essential services as we age as a city. Let's bring in that new business."
Ahead, there are some big projects. Dyer says he's "all in" on the proposed surf park at the old Dome Site.
He says Pharrell's Something in the Water festival can be a game changer for College Beach Weekend. A video from Pharrell played during his speech, asking for the business community's support.
"This is not about enabling a concert. We have that covered," said Pharrell. "You are helping empower a community and impressing upon a generation your brand stands for something they need to hear."
Dyer says he wants the city to be welcoming during the festival. He announced he's creating a coalition with area colleges in the hopes it can help bring young people home.
"All those students that graduated from UVA or William & Mary that are working in Northern Virginia, I want them coming back to Virginia Beach. This is their home. This is where we want them," he said.