Board presented with Hampton Roads flag

Published 11:38 pm Tuesday, October 28, 2008

COURTLAND—Supervisors were told there was no ill wind blowing in Southampton County, and now they have something to take flight in that clean breeze.

Dana Dickens, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Partnership, attended the Board of Supervisors meeting Monday to present the organization’s annual report and a gift: the flag of Hampton Roads.

The Hampton Roads Partnership is a public-private nonprofit organization that works to attract business to the region and foster collaboration among its 17 member local governments. The city of Franklin, the town of Smithfield, and Southampton and Isle of Wight counties are all members of HRP.

“We’re very proud of our association with Southampton County,” Dickens said.

The localities that comprise Hampton Roads were, according to Dickens, all “very unique in our own right, but I would submit to you that all of these unique counties and cities are inter-dependent. We all depend on each other for our success.”

Dickens’ presentation to the board came after the vote to replace and expand the existing Courtland Wastewater Treatment System.

“You’ve had some very interesting conversations this morning,” said Dickens. “I want to compliment you and the citizens of Southampton County for the civility of the discussion and also for the thoughtfulness and the depth of understanding of the issues that are being discussed. I go to a lot of city council and county board meetings, and I compliment you on the civility here because you don’t see that everywhere.”

Referring to the Southampton Business Park in Courtland, which was maligned during an earlier public comment period at the board meeting, Dickens said “that is a very good investment on your part.”

According to Dickens, the port in Hampton Roads is projected to generate 30-50 million square feet of new distribution space, “and Southampton County is primed because of your location to benefit a lot from that,” he said. “These distribution centers will bring capital investment. The tax revenue generated off businesses that come into (Southampton Business Park) will generate money that keeps you from having to increase that tax rate, your mill rate, on your real estate properties. It’s an excellent investment in your county.”

Commenting on Southampton’s comprehensive plan, Dickens said “let me encourage you, when you work this comprehensive plan, working with your neighbors as well. It makes it a lot more efficient for you when you look at these things in a broader scheme.”

Dickens’ gift to the board was the Hampton Roads flag. The design is a circle of 16 white stars sitting on a blue field over a green field divided horizontally.

According to the Web site “Flags of the World,” the flag was created from a 1998 contest for area high school students. Andrew Wall, a 16-year-old student from Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach, designed the winning entry.

The flag is historic because it was the first to be designed for a metropolitan region in the U.S.