VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — About 40,000 students will be flocking to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront for College Beach Weekend in two weeks.
It’s an economic boost for the city, but it comes with plenty of concerns for residents as they prepare for April 27-29.
On Thursday, the city held a forum to answer any questions and share their game plan for a safe and successful weekend.
Residents brought up a number of issues like trash concerns, traffic, and violence. Every year neighborhoods brace for College Beach Weekend.
“When I heard about this event, the best advice I heard was to get out of town,” said Kim Asack.
Asack has only lived through two College Beach Weekends, but that’s been enough for her to come to a strong conclusion.
“This is the only event that I’m really disappointed that the community allows for it to continue going on,” said Asack. “This particular weekend I think is dangerous for residents.”
To alleviate these concerns city staff and law enforcement spoke with residents one on one about what they are doing to keep the Oceanfront safe.
“We want you to come, we want you to have a good time, but we want you to behave and major types of crime we are going to do what’s done in any other city and we’re going to deal with that,” said Steve Cover, Deputy City Manager for Public Safety.
Joe Belec has lived at the Oceanfront for 27 years. He said one student’s vacation can be a home owner’s worst nightmare.
“We’ve seen incidents of the shootings and the stabbings, it’s a rare occurrence, but they do happen,” said Belec.
Belec said he does appreciate the city asking for the public’s input.
“They’ve prepared a lot better this year than they have prepared in past years. You can’t totally prepare for these kinds of events, at least they are trying to do something this year,” said Belec.
Then there are those who are trying to break the stereotype, that oceanfront residents hate College Beach Weekend.
“We want to send a message to our visitors that we want them here, we welcome everyone,” said Beatriz Amberman.
Amberman is a community organizer. She acknowledges the last weekend of April will present some challenges, but turning your back on the entire event is not the answer.
“We want to work together with anyone who has a proactive approach and if there is a concern come join the conversation,” said Amberman.
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