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Virginia Beach: Recreation

Virginia Beach: Recreation

Sightseeing

Virginia Beach is home to many interesting historical landmarks and recreational areas. The First Landing Cross marks the spot where America's first permanent English settlers, the Jamestown colonists, reached the New World in 1607. The Old Cape Henry Lighthouse at Fort Story, built in 1791, is open for tours. The Old Coast Guard Station, one of the first life-saving stations in the United States, is one of several such stations along the East Coast that are still open to the public. Veterans are saluted by the Tidewater Veterans Memorial, complete with a flag display and waterfall. The Norwegian Lady statue, a gift from the people of Moss, Norway, commemorates the wreck of the Norwegian bark Dictator off the city's coastline.

Local historical houses include the Adam Thoroughgood House, built in the mid-1600s, which may be the oldest remaining brick house in America; the Lynnhaven House, one of America's best-preserved eighteenth-century middle class dwellings; Francis Land House and Historic Site, built in 1732, which is the largest and finest gambrel-roofed house in Virginia; and Upper Wolfsnare, a beautifully restored 1759 house that is a Virginia Landmark Home. The Princess Anne Courthouse, built in 1824, and the beautifully landscaped Municipal Building are among the 28 major buildings that house the executive offices of the local government.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center's more than 800,000 gallons of aquaria and over 300 hands-on exhibits offer visitors the opportunity to explore the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, walk under the waves of the Chesapeake Bay, view the life of a saltwater marsh, and stroll through a coastal plains river. A 3D IMAX theater, a nature trail, and traveling exhibits add to the fun. Located in a 1903 former Coast Guard Station, the Old Coast Guard Station displays photographs, nautical artifacts, scrimshaw, ship models, and other marine memorabilia about the Life-Saving Service. The Association for Research and Enlightenment Library and Conference Center documents the life work of Edgar Cayce, world-renowned psychic, through exhibits, lectures, and extrasensory perception testing. The center also has a meditation garden and labyrinth for peaceful contemplation. Family fun awaits visitors to Ocean Breeze Festival Park, home of a water park, a Formula One racing track, go-carts, bumper boats, miniature golf, batting cages and the new Skyscraper roller coaster. The Virginia Beach Farmer's Market, open every day of the year, offers 17,000 square feet of food stalls, craft items, and a country-style restaurant. In the warm months the Market has educational programs for students and Friday Night Hoe-downs. Guided tours are available at the Christian Broadcasting Network Center, which includes Regent University and state-of-the-art broadcasting facilities where the popular religious program "The 700 Club" is taped.

Within one hour's drive of the city are many attractions for culture-lovers and history buffs alike. The Virginia Air & Space Center and Hampton Roads History Center, located in historic Hampton, are housed in a nine-story wonder of a building on the waterfront that combines supermodern and traditional architectural styles. Visitors can view vintage aircraft suspended from the ceiling, the Apollo 12 Command Module with a 3-billion-year-old moon rock, plus an authentic Chesapeake Bay deadrise workboat. Based on the theme, "From the Sea to the Stars," this $30 million building reviews Hampton Roads' seafood and shipbuilding history, and its role as a military defense post and pioneer in aviation and space exploration. The museum also features a 300-seat 3D IMAX theater, which shows aviation and space exploration films; and a restored 1920 merry-go-round.

Located between Virginia Beach and Williamsburg is the Mariner's Museum, which invites visitors to reflect on the lore of the sea and maritime exploration over the past 3,000 years. The museum's 11 galleries contain a unique collection of figureheads, paintings, small craft, ship models, and other marine artifacts. In addition, the museum offers demonstrations by costumed interpreters, films, and a 5-mile nature trail around picturesque Lake Murray. The nearby Peninsula Fine Arts Center provides changing monthly exhibits, a children's art center and adult classes, and the War Memorial Museum of Virginia traces U.S. military history from the Revolution to the first Gulf War.

Just one hour west of Virginia Beach, Williamsburg's Colonial Williamsburg helps tourists make the journey back to the early days of our nation. Visions of our colonial ancestors abound in the 173-acre Historic Area, which features over 30 buildings and craftsmen in eighteenth-century attire practicing industries of the era. Also in the area is Busch Gardens Williamsburg, where visitors can step back in time to life in old England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, and Ireland, while enjoying thrill rides, live shows, and animal attractions. The Williamsburg Pottery Factory has been offering bargain prices for over 60 years, and the water park Water Country USA contains one of the longest flume rides in the country. A trip to Yorktown allows one to look over the site of the 1781 battle that ended the Revolutionary War, and visitors to historic Jamestown can see full-sized replicas of three 1607 ships, recreations of the colonist' fort, and a Powhatan village.

Arts and Culture

The Virginia Center for Contemporary Art celebrates the work of both American artists and artists from around the world. The Artists At Work: Gallery and Studios is a working marketplace for the visual arts that provides views of the actual process of artistic creation. Many of the art works are for sale.

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra delights audiences with its classical music programs at Regent University Theater in Virginia Beach and at venues in Norfolk and Williamsburg. Concerts are also offered by Beach Events on the ocean-front. The Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater is a 20,000-seat venue hosting major musical acts from April through October. As a resort town, Virginia Beach also offers a wide range of jazz, blues, reggae, and rock at the many local nightclubs and dance halls. Virginia Opera performs in the Harrison Opera House and to thousands of school children every year. The Tidewater Winds, a concert band in the Souza tradition, performs all over the Hampton Roads area.

The Virginia Stage Company, the region's only professional troupe, brings its dramas and musicals to the Wells Theater in Norfolk. The Little Theatre of Virginia Beach is a community theater that produces five shows and a summer musical per year. Three full-scale musical comedies are presented at the Pavilion by the Virginia Musical Theater October through April.

Festivals and Holidays

The Neptune Festival in September is the main festival of the year. It attracts more than 1 million spectators and features parades, an air show, a triathlon, art and crafts exhibits, wine tastings, live entertainment, a sand sculpting contest and more. In January the Pavilion plays host to the Virginia Flower & Garden Show. The Millennium Chess Festival draws players from all over to Virginia Beach in February, as does the Mid-Atlantic Sports & Boat Show. Dogs on Parade at the Associated Specialty Dog Show happens in March, as well as the Shamrock Marathon & SportsFest. The Virginia Beach and Princess Anne Garden Tours, the International Azalea Festival, the Atlantic Coast Kite Festival and the Mid-Atlantic Home & Garden Show happen in April. May brings in the Patriotic Festival, Big Flea Market, Strawberry Festival, and Beach Music Festival. June has the Annual Boardwalk Art Show and Latin Fest. July features a huge Fourth of July Celebration and the Mid-Atlantic Hermit Crab Challenge. The Soul Music Beach Fest is in August, as well as the American Folk Art Festival. Labor Day weekend brings the American Music Festival and the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. October brings the city's Annual Historic Homes Tour and October Brewfest. The Countryside Christmas Craft Show and Home-town Holiday Parade happen in November; and December's Holiday Lights at the Beach, annual Nutcracker program, and New Year's Rock Around the Clock ends the year.

Sports for the Spectator

September's Professional Golfer's Association Virginia Beach Open takes place at Tournament Players Club in April. National athletic stars come to the city for the Shamrock Marathon and SportsFest, which takes place each March. Rudee Inlet is the site every August of the East Coast Surfing Championship. Sports lovers in the Hampton Roads region attend the baseball games of the Triple A Norfolk Tides (affiliated with the N.Y. Mets) and the matches of the American Hockey League's Norfolk Admirals. The Virginia Beach Mariners soccer team plays at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. NCAA teams from Old Dominion, Norfolk State and Virginia Wesleyan are also popular with students and locals. Professional and amateur surfers head to the East Coast Surfing Championship held in August, which is free for spectators.

Sports for the Participant

Virginia Beach's greatest asset is the 28 miles of golden shoreline that has attracted visitors for more than a century. The city's 3-mile-long boardwalk, with a parallel bike track, is enhanced with teak benches, lampposts, and colorful flags. The city's most popular beaches are the Resort Area, North End, Back Bay, Croatan, Sandbridge, and Chesapeake beaches. Mild weather year-round makes golf a tremendous draw for visitors. Nine private and two municipal 18-hole golf courses participate in the city's Golf Package Program, and many other courses dot the region.

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center offers half-day or full-day offshore sport fishing, as well as wreck fishing, and deep sea fishing is available from Lynnhaven Seafood & Marina. Freshwater fishing is enjoyed at Back Bay or Lake Smith, and pier fishing is possible at several sites around the city. Sightseeing, scuba diving and whale watching cruises can also be booked with the many charter boats at the Marina. Kayak rentals and tours of the area are offered by Back Bay Getaways and Kayak Nature Tours. Mount Trashmore is a mountain of compacted layers of soil and garbage within the city that has been transformed into a 162-acre park with bicycle trails, playgrounds, skateboard ramps, picnic facilities, and two lakes. A registered National Landmark, First Landing State Park offers more than 20 miles of hiking and biking trails through its 2,770 acres. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge has 5,000 acres of beach, woodland, and marsh, where whistling swans, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles can be spotted in the wintertime. Hiking trails exist at First Landing and False Cape State Parks. Camping is permitted at False Cape State Park among the maritime forests and ocean dunes. Virginia Beach's jet observation parks permit spectators to watch the U.S. Navy's most advanced aircraft take off and land from Ocean Naval Air Station.

Virginia Beach boasts 194 public tennis courts, anchored by the Owl Creek Tennis Center. The resort area's other recreational offerings include boogie-boarding, wind-surfing, jet skiing, para-sailing, miniature golf, volleyball, softball tournaments, bowling, and roller skating. Most recreational equipment, including bicycles, can be rented near the beach. The city's 208 parks, encompassing 4,000 acres, offer such features as playgrounds, ball fields, dog parks, and picnic areas.

Shopping and Dining

Numerous off-price outlets, such as the great American Outlet Mall and Loehmann's Plaza, make Virginia Beach a shopper's delight. The new Town Center has shopping ranging from major department stores to small boutiques. There are traditional malls, such as Lynnhaven, one of the largest malls on the east coast; Pembroke Mall, with large department stores and specialty shops; the various Hilltop locations and La Promenade; as well as the boardwalk and resort area's souvenir shops, surf shops, boutiques, and craft shops. The Virginia Beach Farmers Market is open year round.

Seafood in a wide variety of forms is the star of the culinary show in Virginia Beach. The oyster and the blue crab are local delicacies, and flounder, scallops, and numerous other varieties of fish tempt the palate at local restaurants. Ethnic dishes run the gamut from fajitas, to sushi, to Cajun jambalaya or Fettuccine Alfredo. Oceanfront cafes offer scenic dining opportunities, and eating establishments range from elegant to casual. The new Town Center development is becoming a hub for restaurants as well, with large national chain restaurants like P.F. Chang's and The Cheesecake Factory moving in.

Visitor Information: Virginia Beach Department of Convention and Visitor Development, 2101 Parks Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451; telephone (757)437-4700; toll-free (800)700-7702; fax (757)437-4747

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Virginia Beach: Economy

Virginia Beach: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Virginia Beach has a diverse economy based on private enterprise, thriving tourism, and a strong military presence. In addition, many international corporations have established headquarters in the region. The growth in population (from 84,215 people in 1960 to an estimated 439,467 in 2003) has resulted in flourishing retail sales and has also provided a large labor pool and support services. Open land for industrial development and high-quality office space continue to attract new industry.

Agribusiness contributes substantially to the local economy. There are around 150 farms in the city. In 2002 the economic impact of the agricultural community was estimated at more than $59 million. Principal products included swine, soybeans, corn, horticultural specialties, wheat, vegetables, horse breeding, and dairy products.

Four military bases in Virginia Beach have a tremendous economic impact on the region, with the Department of Defense spending $11 billion in 2002, and increasing in following years due to the War with Iraq. The bases include Oceana Naval Air Station, the largest master jet base in the United States, employing 12,000; Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, which employs 13,000; Fort Story, which conducts amphibious training operations and employs approximately 1,200 military and civilian personnel; and Dam Neck, a training base for combat direction and control systems, which employs 4,700 persons. Businesses serving soldiers, sailors, and their families employ even more area residents. Military Exchanges and PX's accounted for $123.8 million in sales in 2002.

In 2002 over 3 million sun-loving visitors spent more than $700 million during their stays at the resort city for accommodations, meals, entertainment, and other services, resulting in about 11,000 new service jobs. The city received $29 million in net direct revenue from tourist activity.

About one-third of Virginia Beach's labor force is employed in retail and wholesale business. The city had more than 7,800 retail/wholesale businesses with total taxable sales of over $3.9 billion in 2002, an increase of 4.3 percent from the previous year. Distribution greatly benefits from the fact that Virginia Beach is within 750 miles of three-fourths of the country's industrial activity and two-thirds of its population. An integrated system of highway, air, rail, and sea services provides easy access to national and international markets.

Items and goods produced: power tools, furniture, coated abrasives, welding equipment, recreational products, machinery, agricultural products

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

Virginia Beach offers several incentives to reduce the costs of relocating and expanding a facility within the city. The Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development (DED) prepares customized in-depth research packages for prospects, conducts tours of facilities, helps new industry begin operations and aids existing businesses in their growth, advises on the availability of Industrial Development Bonds and conventional funding, and assists in the development of office parks. DED also helps to expedite the permit process for developments under construction, and provides engineering and landscape assistance at no charge. The Department of Economic Development assists firms in identifying and securing conventional financing. The Virginia Beach Development Authority issues tax-exempt industrial development bonds covering the cost of land, buildings, machinery, and equipment to eligible manufacturing facilities. For non-manufacturers, the Virginia Business Financing Authority provides long-term fixed asset financing at rates below those of conventional sources for financing land, buildings and capital equipment. In order to attract new businesses, Virginia Beach has initiated an innovative program aimed at offering cost-saving benefits to employees of new and relocating businesses and industries. The program includes incentives, special offers, and discounts from Virginia Beach businesses including retail merchants, hotels/motels and apartment complexes, utility companies, mortgage companies, and real estate firms.

State programs

Virginia is a right-to-work state. The State General Assembly has kept Virginia's taxes on industry very competitive by enacting one of the best corporate income tax laws in the nation and by eliminating many tax irritants, resulting in very modest tax bills for business and industry. Consequently, property tax exemption or investment tax credits are not used to lure new companies into the state.

Job training programs

The Workforce Services Program of the Virginia Department of Economic Development prepares and coordinates business training programs tailored to meet the specific needs of new or expanding companies seeking to increase employment. Services provided at no cost to employers include recruiting prospective employees, analyzing job training requirements, developing and implementing employment programs, arranging for training facilities, and preparing instructional audiovisual materials. The Virginia Employment Commission will, at no cost, interview, pre-test, pre-screen, and refer selected applicants to an employer. The city of Virginia Beach has funds available through the federal Title II Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) program to recruit prospective workers, and provide wage subsidies and customer training programs. The Southeastern Virginia Job Training Administration administers these funds.

Development Projects

The Town Center of Virginia Beach is a massive, $350 million mixed-use development encompassing 17 blocks in the downtown area. It will consist of office towers, retail space, luxury residential buildings, hotels, restaurants, and a performing arts center, connected by pedestrian-friendly brick sidewalks, fountains, gardens and green areas. Parts of Phase I and II will open in 2005, and more phases are to be completed over the next few years. The Performing Arts Theater at Town Center, a 1,200 seat facility, will be completed in 2007.

Hotel building and expansions have been brisk in Virginia Beach to keep pace with increasing numbers of tourists. New projects being constructed in 2005 include a $62 million Hilton Resort and Conference Center to be built near the new Virginia Beach Convention Center, and a $40 million Embassy Suites being built near the Hampton Roads convention center.

Economic Development Information: Department of Economic Development, City of Virginia Beach, One Columbus Center, Suite 300, Virginia Beach, VA 23462; telephone (757)437-6434; (800)989-4567; fax (757)499-9894; email ecdev@city.virgina-beach.va.us

Commercial Shipping

Norfolk International Airport is located less than a mile from the Virginia Beach city limits. In addition to the nine commercial carriers that serve the area, cargo airlines and air freight forwarders have offices in the airport complex. Also serving the Hampton Roads area is the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, less than an hour away. The nearby Norfolk International and Portsmouth Marine Terminals, part of the Port of Virginia system, handled 15 million tons of cargo in 2004 and has a channel depth to 50 feet. With the addition of 4 Suez class container cranes in 2004, Norfolk International has doubled its cargo handling capacity. There are 135 motor carriers and 50 common carrier terminals in the Virginia Beach region. Federal Express, UPS, Puralator Courier, Emery Worldwide, U.S. Mail Express, and a number of smaller couriers serve the area. Railroads serving Virginia Beach are Norfolk Southern Railway and Eastern Shore Railroad, with a connection to CSX Transportation.

Economic Development Information: Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development, One Columbus Center, Suite 300, Virginia Beach, VA 23462; telephone (757)437-6434; (800)989-4567; fax (757)499-9894; email ecdev@city.virgina-beach.va.us

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

In terms of major occupations, the Hampton Roads area population, including that of Virginia Beach, exhibits a balanced proportion of managerial, professional, technical, and support personnel in a variety of businesses and industries. Of the more than 7,500 annual high school graduates, nearly 70 percent attend either a two- or four-year college or university, while 15 percent continue their education at vocational or trade schools, or through an apprenticeship program.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Newport News metropolitan area labor force, 2003 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 730,800

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 44,700

manufacturing: 59,800

trade, transportation and utilities: 134,900

information: 16,100

financial activities: 38,000

professional and business services: 98,800

educational and health services: 78,100

leisure and hospitality: 77,300

other services: 33,500

government: 149,800

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $18.27 (2003)

Unemployment rate: 4.0% (December 2004)

Largest private employers Number of employees
American Systems Engineering 2,300
Amerigroup 2,300
Manpower 1,775
Geico Direct 1,743
Gold Key Resorts 1,600
Stihl 1,279
Virginian-Pilot Production Plant 977
Christian Broadcasting Network 941
Lillian Vernon Corporation 900
MILCOM Systems 800
UPS 750

Cost of Living

The cost of living in the Virginia Beach area, including consumer goods and services, is slightly above the national average.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Virginia Beach area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $288,851

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 102.1 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 2.0% to 5.75%

State sales tax rate: 4%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1%

Property tax rate: $1.22 per $100 of assessed valuation (2002); assessment ratio = 100% for residential

Economic Information: Department of Economic Development, One Columbus Center, Suite 300, Virginia Beach, VA 23462; telephone (757)437-6434; toll-free (800)989-4567; fax (757)499-9894; email ecdev@city.virgina-beach.va.us

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Virginia Beach: Education and Research

Virginia Beach: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Virginia Beach City Public Schools is the second largest city school system in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the thirty-ninth largest in the country. Its motto, "Ahead of the Curve", conveys its dedication to being in the forefront of innovative educational programs. In 2004, it was recognized by the American School Board Journal for its student-mentor program, and for LEAD, a teacher education program. Among the specialized curricula it offers are math and science academies, a visual and performing arts academy, an Advanced Technology Center and an international baccalaureate program. Virginia Beach students consistently score above the national average for all grade levels on achievement tests.

The following is a summary of data regarding Virginia Beach's public schools as of the 20042005 school year.

Total enrollment: 74,682

Number of facilities elementary schools: 55

junior high/middle schools: 15

senior high schools: 11

other: 15 city-wide centers/schools

Student/teacher ratio: elementary, 15.3:1; secondary, 12:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $34,274

maximum: $72,325

Funding per pupil: $7,414 (2002-2003)

There are 43 private, parochial and military schools in the city enrolling students from Pre-K to 12th grade.

Public Schools Information: Virginia Beach City Public Schools, 2512 George Mason Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23456-0038; telephone (757)427-4585; email vbcpsweb@vbcps.k12.va.us

Colleges and Universities

Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk enrolls more than 20,000 students in 150 academic programs offering 67 undergraduate, 68 masters, 26 doctoral degrees, and two certificates of advanced study. The most popular recent majors have been psychology, finance/banking, education and nursing. Tidewater Community College's Virginia Beach campus, enrolling more than 19,000 students annually, is a participant in Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology with ODU.

Virginia Wesleyan College, a four-year liberal arts private college located on the Virginia Beach/Norfolk border, enrolls more than 1,400 students in 38 degree programs. Other institutions of higher education in the area are Eastern Virginia Medical School (900 students), Norfolk State University (8,900 students), Regent University (1,500 students), ODU/NSU Virginia Beach Education Center (5,800 students), and Hampton Roads Graduate Center, part of University of Virginia and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, with 250 students.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Virginia Beach Department of Public Libraries encompasses the central library and six area libraries with a Municipal Reference Library, Public Law Library, bookmobile, and a Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The library system has almost than 800,000 books, plus the Princess Anne (County) Historical Collection. The library publishes a bimonthly newsletter. Other libraries in the area include college- and church-affiliated libraries; the Edgar Cayce Foundation Library, specializing in metaphysical topics; the Virginia Marine Science's Museum Library; and the Mariner's Museum Library.

Research centers in Virginia Beach include the Association for Research and Enlightenment and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Eastern Shore Lab, which is affiliated with the College of William and Mary.

Public Library Information: Virginia Beach Central Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23452; telephone (757)431-3001

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Virginia Beach: History

Virginia Beach: History

British Land at Cape Henry

In spring of 1607, Captain John Smith and his band of explorers landed at Cape Henry at the northern tip of what is now Virginia Beach. Around them they saw expanses of white sand, rolling dunes, and pine forests. A few days later, they sailed up the James River to establish the New World's first permanent settlement at Jamestown.

Cape Henry, where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, soon became a pathway for British merchant ships that traversed the treacherous seas to reach America. In 1720, the governor of Virginia requested that a lighthouse be built to increase safety. The kings of England refused until 1774. The Revolutionary War halted construction of the lighthouse, and it was not completed until 1791. A new tower was erected in 1881, but the old one lived on to become Virginia Beach's official symbol in 1962. Cape Henry played a critical role in the Revolution, for it was there the French fleet, led by Admiral Compte De Grasse, stopped the British fleet.

Resort Town Built on Rail Line

Virginia Beach's history as a resort town began in 1880 when a clubhouse was built on the ocean. In 1883, with the help of northern capitalists, a corporation was formed to build a railroad from the busy port of Norfolk to the ocean front. An elaborate hotel that occupied two ocean front blocks, the Princess Anne Hotel, marked the birth of Virginia Beach. The hotel had rail tracks running almost into the lobby for the unloading of steamer trunks. In addition to sunbathing and swimming in the ocean, visitors could soak in salt and freshwater tubs, and enjoy the casino, dance halls, and saltwater pools of nearby Seaside Park.

Two of Hampton Roads' oldest cities, Norfolk and Portsmouth, experienced two centuries of moderate growth following the colonization of the New World, and grew significantly during the twentieth century due to the massive military build-up in support of World War II. Until the 1980s, Norfolk was the most populated city in the region.

Annexation Brings Tremendous Growth

The popularity of Virginia Beach's beach front, which according to the Guinness Book of Records is the largest pleasure beach in the world, extends to the present. Since the building of the boardwalk and the Cavalier Hotel in the late 1920s, the city has experienced tremendous growth both as a resort and as a center of industry for the East Coast. Before World War II, the total combined population of the city and county was fewer than 20,000 people. In 1963, by annexing adjacent Princess Anne County, a small resort community became a city of 125,000 people that had grown from an original 1,600 acres to 172,800 acres. With more land for development, Virginia Beach soon surpassed Norfolk as the region's most populated city. With a growth rate of nearly 50 percent between 1980 and 1990, Virginia Beach became the largest city in Virginia. While this explosive growth rate slowed the following decade, Virginia Beach remains the state's largest city. A diverse economy, downtown development projects, and a burgeoning tourism business make the city "a vibrant city where people live, learn, work and play," according to Mayor Oberndorf in a March 2005 state of the city address.

Historical Information: Princess Anne County-Virginia Beach Historical Society, 2040 Potters Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23454; telephone (804)491-0127; Hampton Roads History Center; telephone (804)727-0800

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Virginia Beach: Population Profile

Virginia Beach: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 1,201,000 (MSA)

1990: 1,444,710 (MSA)

2000: 1,569,541(MSA)

2003 estimate: 1,637,251

Percent change, 19902000: 8.8%

U.S. rank in 1980: 31st (MSA)

U.S. rank in 1990: 28th (MSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 33rd (MSA)

City Residents

1980: 262,000

1990: 393,089

2000: 425,257

2003 estimate: 439,467

Percent change, 19902000: 8.2%

U.S. rank in 1980: 56th

U.S. rank in 1990: 37th (State rank: 1st)

U.S. rank in 2000: 38th (State rank: 1st)

Density: 1,712.7 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 303,681

Black: 80,593

American Indian and Alaskan Native: 1,619

Asian: 20,869

Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 416

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 17,770

Other: 6,402

Percent of residents born in state: 37.7 (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Poplation under 5 years old: 30,616

Poplation 5 to 9 years old: 33,523

Poplation 10 to 14 years old: 33,749

Poplation 15 to 19 years old: 30,239

Poplation 20 to 24 years old: 31,313

Poplation 25 to 34 years old: 69,842

Poplation 35 to 44 years old: 75,897

Poplation 45 to 54 years old: 53,798

Poplation 55 to 59 years old: 17,465

Poplation 60 to 64 years old: 12,882

Poplation 65 to 74 years old: 20,735

Poplation 75 to 84 years old: 11,649

Population 85 years and older: 3,549

Median age: 32.7 years

Births (2003)

Total number: 6,370

Deaths (2003)

Total number: 2,311 (of which, 19 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $22,365 (1999)

Median household income: $48,705

Total households: 154,635

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 6,628

$10,000 to $14,999: 5,344

$15,000 to $24,999: 15,496

$25,000 to $34,999: 21,204

$35,000 to $49,999: 30,976

$50,000 to $74,999: 37,918

$75,000 to $99,999: 18,367

$100,000 to $149,999: 12,620

$150,000 to $199,999: 2,794

$200,000 or more: 3,288

Percent of families below poverty level: 5.1% (55% of which were female householder families in poverty)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 15,492

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Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach, resort city (1990 pop. 393,069), independent and in no county, SE Va., on the Atlantic coast; inc. 1906. In 1963, Princess Anne co. and the former small town of Virginia Beach were merged, giving the present city an area of 302 sq mi (782 sq km). It begins at the North Carolina state line, extends N for 28 mi (45 km) along the Atlantic to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and to Norfolk, varying in width from c.7 to 15 mi (11–24 km).

The city is a railroad terminus and its many manufactures include rubber, plastic, glass, and wood products; electrical and electronic equipment; machinery; chemicals; building materials; textiles; transportation equipment; and consumer goods. Tourism is important, and there is agriculture (barley, wheat, corn, soybeans, livestock, and dairy products) and commercial fishing. Four large military bases are within the city limits: Naval Air Station Oceana, a huge base with hundreds of carrier planes; Dam Neck, a fleet combat training support center that is part of Oceana; a naval amphibious training center at Little Creek; and Fort Story, a U.S. army transportation command.

Virginia Beach is the state's largest city and one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities, marked by a population increase of nearly 50% between 1980 and 1990. Long a popular resort, it has beautiful beaches, a boardwalk, and excellent sportfishing. Of interest are the Cape Henry memorial cross, site of the landing of the first colonists in 1607; the Cape Henry lighthouse (1791; restored); the nation's oldest brick residence (1636; restored); and the Alan B. Shepard civic center, a geodesic aluminum-domed structure. Seashore State Park is there, as are Atlantic Univ. and Regent Univ. Virginia Wesleyan College is on the Norfolk–Virginia Beach border. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (opened 1964) links Virginia Beach with the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland.

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Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach: Introduction
Virginia Beach: Geography and Climate
Virginia Beach: History
Virginia Beach: Population Profile
Virginia Beach: Municipal Government
Virginia Beach: Economy
Virginia Beach: Education and Research
Virginia Beach: Health Care
Virginia Beach: Recreation
Virginia Beach: Convention Facilities
Virginia Beach: Transportation
Virginia Beach: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1906 (city formed by merger with Princess Anne County, 1963)

Head Official: Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf (since July 1988); City Manager James Spore (since November 1991)

City Population

1980: 262,000

1990: 393,089

2000: 425,257

2003 estimate: 439,467

Percent change, 19902000: 8.2%

U.S. rank in 1980: 56th

U.S. rank in 1990: 37th (State rank: 1st)

U.S. rank in 2000: 38th (State rank: 1st)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 1,201,000

1990: 1,445,000

2000: 1,569,541

Percent change, 19902000: 8.8%

U.S. rank in 1980: 31st (MSA)

U.S. rank in 1990: 28th (MSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 33rd (MSA)

Area: 248 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Sea level to 12 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 59.6° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 45.74 inches

Major Economic Sectors: services, wholesale and retail trade, government

Unemployment rate: 4.0% (December 2004)

Per Capita Personal Income: $22,365 (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 15,492

Major Colleges and Universities: Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, ODU/NSU Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, Regent University, Virginia Wesleyan College, Tidewater Community College

Daily Newspaper: The Virginian-Pilot

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Virginia Beach: Geography and Climate

Virginia Beach: Geography and Climate

Virginia Beach is located on the ocean in the mid-Atlantic region in the southeastern corner of Virginia, with the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Chesapeake Bay on the north. It is part of the area known as Hampton Roads. In the early 1600s the world's largest natural harborwhere the Chesapeake Bay meets the James Riverprovided easy access to the colony of Virginia. An English nobleman named Henry Wriothesley, the third Earl of Southampton, financed early expeditions to Virginia. In his honor the harbor was named Earl of Southampton's Roadstead, roadstead meaning a sheltered anchorage. Eventually it was shortened to Hampton Roads. Today, a bridge-tunnel spans the great harbor linking the peninsula cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Williamsburg, the town of Poquoson, and the counties of Gloucester, James City, and York with the Southside cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Franklin, and the counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton. The area experiences four moderate seasons without climactic extremes, in which the warm spring leads to hazy, hot summer days, and warm muggy nights that turn into the bright sunny days and cool crisp nights of autumn and the colder days of winter. The area has an average snowfall of 8.9 inches annually.

Area: 248 square miles (2000)

Elevation: sea level to 12 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 40.1° F; July, 79.1° F; annual average, 59.6° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 45.74 inches

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Virginia Beach: Transportation

Virginia Beach: Transportation

Approaching the City

Air travelers to the city arrive at Norfolk International Airport, located less than a mile from the city limits. The airport is served by 9 carriers that offer more than 200 daily flights connecting to all major hubs and many major cities in the U.S. and around the world. Interstate Highway 64, U.S. 460, and U.S. 58 approach the city from the west; from the north and south convenient routes are I-85 or I-95, U.S. 13 and U.S. 17. All these routes cross I-64, which circles the Hampton Roads region and links with Route 44, the Virginia Beach-Norfolk Expressway, which ends at the city's ocean-front resort area. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connects Virginia Beach with Virginia's eastern shore. The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel links the southside of Hampton Roads with the peninsula cities of Newport News and Hampton. The Merrimac-Monitor Memorial Bridge Tunnel connects the south side and peninsula via the James River.

Bus service is provided by the Greyhound Bus Line and Amtrak provides rail service and connections to numerous Eastern and Southern points from nearby Newport News. Virginia Beach can be reached by water from the Atlantic Ocean or via the Intercoastal Waterway.

Traveling in the City

The Wave, a three-route trolley system, services residents and visitors throughout the summertime, extending from the resort area to shopping malls to points of local cultural and historic importance. Hampton Roads Transit provides area bus transportation.

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Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH

VIRGINIA BEACH, located on Cape Henry at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, the site of the first landing of the Jamestown colonists in 1607. Later in the 1620s, a community known as Lynnhaven grew up in what became Princess Anne County by 1691. After piracy in the area was eradicated in the early eighteenth century, trade emerged as a mainstay of the local economy. To diminish dangers to merchant shipping, the Cape Henry lighthouse was erected in 1792.

In the 1880s Virginia Beach became a popular seaside resort with several luxury hotels. The most famous of these, the Cavalier Hotel, opened in 1927 and became known as the "Queen of the Beach." Although the tourist industry remained a crucial part of the local economy through the twentieth century, the U.S. military—particularly Oceana Naval Air Station—proved an essential catalyst for the city's rapid post–World War II growth.

Another factor in that growth was "white flight," as nearby Norfolk desegregated in the late 1950s and 1960s. In 1963 city and county merged, creating Virginia's largest city. Public hostility kept African Americans from moving in significant numbers to "the Beach," making the city somewhat of an anomaly among southern cities; the 2000 population of 425,257 was overwhelmingly white relative to other urban areas in Virginia and the region.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Beach: A History of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Virginia Beach: Virginia Beach Public Library, 1996.

J. FredSaddler

See alsoSun Belt .

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Virginia Beach: Communications

Virginia Beach: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Virginia Beach's daily newspaper, the morning The Virginian-Pilot, is published in Norfolk. The Virginia Beach Sun is the city's weekly community newspaper. Beach: The Magazine of Virginia Beach is a quarterly magazine produced by the city. Also published in Virginia Beach are Senior Times, a shopper; The Shilling, a journal focusing on ways to make money; Tidewater Parent, Port Folio Weekly, and Tidewater Women.

Television and Radio

Virginia Beach is served by cable television and by stations broadcasting from the surrounding Hampton Roads area. Seven AM and FM radio stations provide music, talk shows, and religious programming.

Media Information: The Virginian-Pilot, Landmark Communications, 150 W. Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23510; telephone (757)446-9000; toll-free (800)446-2005; email vpquestions/comments@pilotonline.com

Virginia Beach Online

City of Virginia Beach home page. Available www.vbgov.com

Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Available www.vbcps.k12.va.us

Virginia Beach Public Library. Available www.vbgov.com/dept/library

Virginia Beach Tourist Information. Available www.vbfun.com

Virginian Pilot. Available www.pilotonline.com

Selected Bibliography

Jackson, Katherine, Walking Virginia Beach (Helena, Mont.: Falcon Publishing Co., 1999)

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Virginia Beach: Introduction

Virginia Beach: Introduction

The city of Virginia Beach combines the elegance of a rich past with the energy of one of the most rapidly developing cities on the East Coast. Virginia Beach is part of a seven-city metropolitan area called Hampton Roads. Among the attractions of the city are 30 miles of shoreline with 28 miles of public beach, state-of-the-art medical facilities, and the ever-changing beauty of its four moderate seasons. Civic leaders, working together to ensure that growth is orderly and sensitive to environmental concerns, have formulated and implemented strategic plans for land use, economic development, and education. The city is home of "The Golden Mile," a rapidly growing cluster of new high-technology firms.

The city's location, temperate climate, quality labor force, economic stability, competitive taxes, and good transportation system have attracted a growing number of national and international firms who have relocated their corporate headquarters to the area. The city's economy is strengthened by a strong tourist and convention industry, four major military bases, stable real estate, construction, retail and wholesale trade, and distribution. History buff, entrepreneur, culture-lover, or nature enthusiast, Virginia Beach offers something for everyone.

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Virginia Beach: Health Care

Virginia Beach: Health Care

Sentara Healthcare, a not-for-profit health care provider in southeastern Virginia, operates nine hospitals in the Hampton Roads area, with two of them in Virginia Beach. Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital is a 274-bed facility that houses the region's only Level 3 Trauma Center, plus a neonatal intensive care unit and a sleep disorder clinic. It also specializes in cardiac surgery, cancer care, women's health, oncology, and orthopedics. In the fall of 2005, a $29 million wing will open with the new Sentara Heart Center and 108 all-private rooms. Sentara Bayside Hospital has 158 beds and features a vascular lab, breast cancer center, and a gastrointestinal center.

Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center is a freestanding hospital that offers psychiatric and substance abuse services for children, adolescents, and adults. Virginia Beach also has five rehabilitation centers, several nursing homes, and a dialysis center.

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Virginia Beach: Convention Facilities

Virginia Beach: Convention Facilities

In the summer of 2005 a new $202 million Virginia Beach Convention Center is scheduled to open its first phase, and the Pavilion Convention Center will be demolished. When finally completed in 2007, the new 500,000 square foot center will have a 150,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 31,000 square foot banquet room, 29,000 square feet of meeting space, and 2,230 free parking spaces. Many other downtown hotels offer meeting and convention facilities.

Convention Information: Virginia Beach Department of Convention and Visitor Development, 2101 Parks Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451; telephone (757)437-4700; toll-free (800)700-7702; fax (757)437-4747

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Virginia Beach: Municipal Government

Virginia Beach: Municipal Government

An eleven-member city council and a city manager govern Virginia Beach. Seven council seats are filled by individuals who reside in the seven boroughs of the city, and there are no borough residency requirements for the remaining four seats. The mayor is elected by voters and occupies one of the "at large" seats.

Head Officials: Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf (since July 1988; current term expires 2008); City Manager James Spore (since November 1991)

Total Number of City Employees: 6,000 (2005)

City Information: City of Virginia Beach, 1 Municipal Center, Virginia Beach, VA 23456; telephone (757) 427-4601

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Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach City on the Atlantic Ocean, se Virginia. Site of the Cape Henry Memorial Cross (commemorating the first landing of English colonists, 1607), and of the oldest brick house in the USA, it is a rapidly expanding tourist centre with good beaches and recreational facilities. Its economy is helped by market gardening and nearby military complexes. The population increased by nearly 60% between 1980 and 1992, making it the state's largest city. Pop. (2000) 425,527.

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