On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, the York River Group of the Sierra Club at Sandy Bottom Nature Park heard a talk on Recent Environmental Programs and Happenings in Hampton. A lot of exciting stuff is going on in our very midst! The talk covered many different initiatives, some of which are highlighted here.
Hampton is a coastal community, and like many others is at risk from possible future sea level rise. A forum was initiated about 5 years ago to connect with people from all over the world, building relationships and learning science. This forum includes planners from the city of Norfolk as well as the Dutch, who have been challenged by the sea for many centuries. This interaction is referred to as the “Dutch Dialogues,” and it is helping our city planners (and interested citizens) learn to think differently and more sustainably. For example: are ditches a liability or an asset? They can carry water away very quickly, but they are often seen as an eyesore. Why not “re-imagine and re-invigorate?”… use them to create beautiful linear parks!
The city of Hampton is interested in environmental projects and sustainability. They see these as a way not only to cope with problems like sea level rise, but also to improve the quality of life for its residents. They want to create a “sense of place” in Hampton. Beauty, sustainability, and growth can go hand in hand. Over-development (with only profit for developers and tax revenue for the city in mind) is always short-sighted, and never works for the long term.
One sustainability project in the works in Hampton is “Central Park,” in the Coliseum area. This park will have a trail component, landscaping, and events. The water walk will follow the Newmarket Creek, as a linear park. Even its trash receptacles and recycling methods are undergoing in-depth consideration. Another nature-based solution is the “Living Shoreline” in Phoebus, which is striving to save the shoreline from erosion. There is also a Hampton Bike and Pedestrian Plan, recently adopted, with implementation and street grants being pursued. Hampton recently achieved a Silver Level Award from the 2016 Green Government Challenge, for its pro-environment efforts. Congratulations!