Mayor Ed Johnson offers up the State of the City address at Thursday night’s meeting. (Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)

Fayetteville Mayor Edward Johnson offered hope and stability to citizens during his State of the City address on Thursday night.

Johnson discussed several new initiatives and a strategic plan that will impact the city. His address also focused on cultivating a new business ventures and creating an improved economic infrastructure for years to come.

“We have heard what the citizens desire,” Johnson said. “They want a vibrant, safe, downtown with parks and walkability. They want a sense of place.”

The city already made a splash in 2018 with the announcement of plans for a revamped downtown area to include a new city hall and amenities for citizens. Johnson said that it was the citizens’ response to a detailed survey that got the ball rolling on the downtown development plans.

“We value your input as stakeholders and are here to serve your best interests,” Johnson said.

With an increasing focus on responding to resident input, the city has focused its efforts to improving roads, bridges, and areas that citizens use frequently. Johnson has plans to increase funding for transportation that includes building more roundabouts and trails that connect the three major points of the city. He noted the city council has discussed a new water and sewer system that provides better water supply for all residents and businesses.

“We must make smart investments in our roads and utilities so that future growth and current customers can be served with reliable services,” Johnson said.

In order to create new services, Johnson made it known that Fayetteville must change its perception as a city. He recognizes it is expensive to live in the city and many workers commute each day for work.

Johnson proposed the city should provide affordable and quality housing options at various price points for its residents. Likewise, the city wants to add competitive salaries to keep workers in Fayetteville long-term.

“We cannot afford to maintain a status quo and watch surrounding communities surpass our economic development and managed-growth efforts,” Johnson said. “We must aggressively pursue and attract quality businesses through a robust economic development plan.”

Johnson concluded by emphasizing the importance of communication shared between all levels of the city. With in-fighting ongoing among county figures, Johnson hopes to involve everyone with the goal to make Fayetteville a better place.

“The city has spoken and we are now ready to take the initial steps to reach the goals and strategic plans,” Johnson said. “But we must be united as a team, with one voice, one mission, and one purpose—all in a culture of ‘can do’ and excellence.”

Fayetteville is off to a good start with its new development plans. According to Johnson, he hopes that it will stay that was as 2018 progresses.

“The City of Fayetteville is on a great trajectory for improving the quality of life and fostering greater opportunities for more of our citizens.”