On the precipice of a promising future, Fayetteville Mayor Ed Johnson assured residents the city is on firm footing in the present with his annual State of the City Address on Feb. 7.
“As mayor of our great city and the one that you have entrusted to help guide our city during a period of unprecedented growth, I am proud to give this third State of the City Address,” he said. “I am very proud tonight to report that the state of the city of Fayetteville is excellent.”
In his 2018 address, Johnson identified five key priorities as part of the city’s updated 2018-21 Strategic Plan: transportation, economic development, infrastructure, neighborhood improvement, and effective government.
“I am delighted to report significant progress in all of those areas,” he said.
On transportation, the city launched a downtown traffic study, worked towards developing a Master Path Plan to connect neighborhoods, and repaved 2.4 miles of road.
In economic development, additional police officers and fire fighters were hired, renovations were made to the Southern Ground Amphitheater, and 10 acres of land for public park space were purchased using SPLOST funds.
To protect infrastructure, SPLOST funds were also used to design a new wastewater treatment plant and a new fire station.
Public safety got a boost with upgraded body cameras and in-car cameras, along with investigation equipment. They also continued emphasizing the Police C.A.R.E. (Community Activity, Resource & Education) Unit through public events, school visits, and Neighborhood Watch meetings.
A focal point of the look back was a look ahead at where future State of the City speeches will be heard.
“The time has come to move forward and to build a new City Hall that will serve the City for the next 25, 30, 40, or even 50 years, if not longer,” Johnson said. “In 2018, we purchased the land to build that new City Hall, and in 2019 you will see that new City Hall begin to take shape.”
It will be the centerpiece of the envisioned walkable downtown.
“Combined with the adjacent new City Hall Plaza and park, we will all enjoy structures and spaces designed to encourage community gatherings, engage one another in important City business, and enjoy the vibrancy of a redeveloping Downtown Fayetteville.”
At a pivotal point of impending growth, Johnson is confident the city is in position to thrive.
“We hope to gain your support in building a city where we treasure the past, but not allow it to limit our future,” he said. “We want to become a city where we not only embrace our diversity, but we effectively use it as a foundation to build a community where everyone who wants to contribute positively to our growth and our success is welcome.”