VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — At nearly 60 years old, Virginia Beach has weathered what we hope was the worst of the pandemic.

In the annual state of the city address on Wednesday, co-hosted by Mayor Bobby Dyer and City Manager Patrick Duhaney, the public was offered a look back and a look ahead for the city of 460,000 residents.

“As challenging as it has been, we have adjusted to life over the past couple of years our city has undeniably demonstrated tenacity and resilience,” said Dyer, the second-term mayor.

Tower Cam

There’s more uncertainty because of the crisis in Ukraine, but experts say higher gas prices could actually benefit the Oceanfront this year.

Locals are concerned about water of another kind: Voters last year approved a $567 million bond referendum. Funds from the initiative will be used to mitigate flooding across the city.

“In Virginia Beach, flooding affects everyone in one way or another this comprehensive program will provide fiscally sustainable long-term protection,” said Dyer.

The intersection of S. Plaza and Old Forge Road in Virginia Beach, Va. on Nov. 12, 2020 (Photo courtesy: Laura Harrison)

Pembroke Mall is getting flipped, firefighters will get an upgraded training center and “for sale” signs will soon go up on unused land at Oceana. City Manager Patrick Duhaney explained the Oceana deal and other parts of the annual state of the city address.

“Under future base design, NAS Oceana, in partnership with the city, will unlock up to 1,100 acres of underutilized land on the installation and make it available to lease to private businesses.,” explained Duhaney.

Courtesy – Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana

As for new business, Dyer says things are taking off. Drone Up just inked a deal with Walmart that starts with drone deliveries in the mid-west.

“Drone Up will grow from 100 employees to 600 employees with most of the jobs residing in Hampton Roads,” added Duhaney.

Following the loss to Norfolk of the Patriotic Festival, the mayor and manager announced in 2023, Virginia Beach will host the Jackalope festival. The event is a three-day action sports Canada-based festival that features skateboarding, base jumping, rock climbing, and surfing.

Click here to read the full text from the State of the City speech.

Clarification: The original version of this story initially stated Virginia Beach was older than 60, however, the city’s historical documents say its start as the modern City of Virginia Beach was on Jan. 1, 1963.