Thursday, February 23, 2012

"The State of the City is Good"

Mayor Sue Murray delivered the annual State of the City address to the Greencastle Rotary Club yesterday.  In case you missed it, here's the full text of her remarks: 


"For a community of just over 10,000, in the State of Indiana, starting 2012, the state of the city is good.

Greencastle finished 2011 as we have for the last four years.  Financially, we ended the year in the black. We have money in the bank, and we have been able to continue to provide the services that our citizens expect.  This year’s report, however,  cannot be made without acknowledging the increasing financial pressures on local governments and programs, the amazing dedication of our city employees, and the extraordinary opportunity the Stellar Community Grant brings to us.

First, I would like to share some of the significant accomplishments and events of 2011.
  • Percy Julian Drive was rebuilt.
  • Aside from Percy we invested just under $150,000 in our roads and $100,000 in sidewalks and ADA ramps.
  • Preliminary Engineering has begun for South Street.
  • Crown Equipment is finishing a construction project that nearly doubles the size of its plant and eventually will add some 145 jobs.
  • Phoenix Closures has come to town and taken over a “dinosaur” of a building.
  • Greencastle was named the IACT Green Community of the Year for the 4th year in a row. A Tree City for the 12th year and a recipient of the Growth Award for the 2nd year in a row.
  • Three of our neighborhoods are now recognized on the National Register as historic districts.  (This Old House named Greencastle as the best value in Indiana for anyone looking to purchase a historic home.)
  • Our Community Garden has doubled in size and now is completely fenced.
  • We continue to have ward meetings.  Our focus this time has been on the Neighborhood Watch Program.
  • We’re within 42 of completing our change-out of water meters to radio reads. (3727 total)
  • Senator Lugar came to Greencastle to help celebrate the first round of energy saving initiatives in the schools that came about through the RISE grant that was awarded by the Putnam County Community Foundation to our Sustainability Commission.
  • In September, Bill Dory and I had the opportunity to visit China and Japan as a member of the Lt. Governor’s Trade Mission.
  • And we were one of the two communities selected to receive a Stellar Community Pilot Project Grant.
STELLAR COMMUNITY GRANT  
  • Opportunity to bring up to 19.1 million dollars into the community for infrastructure projects.
  • Program of connectivity and enhancement.
    1. Downtown fa├žade improvements
    2. Construction/reconstruction of downtown loft spaces.
    3. Creation of a campus/community bookstore in the downtown.
    4. Anderson Street entrance to DePauw University.
    5. Streetscaping and infrastructure improvements to parts of Locust, Spring, College, Vine, Indiana, and Washington Street.
    6. Owner occupied home rehabilitation in the designated downtown district.
    7. Parking structure.
    8. Construction of the Campus Link trail.
    9. Joint university wellness/community health clinic.
    10. Wi-Fi bubble.
    11. Wayfinding signage.  
    12. Extension of ISO programming and the arts. 
The challenges that we know we will face in 2012 will be challenges of revenues and budget.  We will have challenges in managing the projects and the construction that will be going on in a fairly compact area in our community.   We will be challenged to create the infrastructure to populate and care for our downtown investment.  We will be challenged to create new employment opportunities and to maintain the jobs that we have.  We are also acutely aware of the many influences, opportunities and coincidences that are outside of our municipal control, but do have a profound effect on how we plan and how we do our jobs.  We must be ready for them.  We will continue to look for partnerships and opportunities for collaboration that will help us grow and enhance our human, social and physical capital.  Finally, we must believe that by working together we can and we will create the kind of Greencastle our children and grandchildren will be proud to call home."