The Virginia Beach Economic Development Authority will make sure the man who negotiated the deal to create Town Center 16 years ago will be remembered for it.
The commercial district’s Fountain Plaza, a central gathering area where events and entertainment acts are held throughout the year, will be renamed the James K. Spore Town Center Fountain Plaza after the outgoing city manager.
“This was an unexpected honor,” Spore wrote in his weekly update to City Council.
Naming the plaza after Spore beat out other ideas the Economic Development Authority had kicked around to honor the long-time city manager, said Dorothy Wood, the authority’s chairwoman. He was involved in negotiations with private developers for the project, which now boasts the state’s tallest building amid a downtown-style shopping and residential district.
“Without him, Town Center wouldn’t be here,” Wood said.
Spore, is retiring Dec. 31 after 24 years with the Beach, said many worked hard to build up the development and that being singled out for his role “is a huge honor.” The City Council this week interviewed candidates for his successor.
Others will miss him, too.
The Virginia Beach Retired Employee Association — which Spore helped launch — planted a Red Oak tree with a sign near city hall along the path he walks daily to his office, Spore said in his update and in an interview.
Old Dominion University and Virginia Beach VISION raised $60,000 for a scholarship to the Strome College of Business that will continue into perpetuity in his name, he said in the report. It will be called The Spore Scholars Program.
Spore wrote in the update that there aren’t words to express his humility and gratitude to the surprises and generosity he is experiencing in his employment’s twilight.
“I wish everybody could end their careers like this,” he said in an interview.