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Fayetteville Mayor Edward Johnson delivers State of the City Address

Mayor Edward Johnson. Photo by Michael Cuneo

Editors Note: [Below is a transcription of Mayor Edward Johnson’s Fayetteville State of the City Address delivered on Thursday, February 17, 2022]

Greetings and blessings to all citizens of our wonderful city of Fayetteville, Georgia. On behalf of the unified and progressive city council and our exceptional city staff and public safety personnel, I am honored to give this state of the city of address that we feel will make the citizens proud of what has been accomplished in the past year, despite the presence of the covid pandemic.

This is my fifth annual state of the city address, and it is the first ever from our new Fayetteville city hall, making this a very special occasion.

A year ago, my state of the city address included construction progress and updates on our new city hall & city center park project, and now you can experience them for yourself. Another ingredient in the city’s success is the investment we make in our government employees.

I want to publicly thank all of the city staff who worked unrelentingly and kept the city operating at high efficiency, even when having to work remotely due to the coronavirus.

Our city manager Ray Gibson and his management team continue to provide our staff with the training and tools they need to accomplish the city’s strategic priorities.

All of this will be reflected in our 2022 strategic plan publication, which we are working to complete in the next few months.

The updated strategic plan will include updated core values and revised strategic priorities based on collaborations we have had with city leadership, staff, and the community.

Public safety continues to be priority one!

Your Fayetteville police department is, and always will be “community-focused” in not only enforcement of the law but more importantly, in building confidence and trust in the citizens that they are here to protect and serve.

Our police department was successful in 2021 in achieving continued state accreditation from the Georgia association of chiefs of police. The police department is also seeking Calea national accreditation.

We are being intentional about hiring a diverse and highly qualified police force that represents “the best of the best” in law enforcement, with ongoing advanced training and tactics in de-escalation and mental health awareness.

In 2021, our police department implemented the use of the new bolawrap non-lethal restraint devices that can be used in de-escalating potentially dangerous situations facing our police officers and the general public. Our fire department had a successful year in 2021, as they completed a headquarters expansion project while continuing to plan for the establishment of a permanent fire station location on the west side of the city.

Fire chief alan jones retired after 33 years of dedicated service to our fire department and was elevated to assistant city manager, allowing us to retain and use his corporate knowledge of the city’s past operations.

Assistant fire chief Linda black was promoted to fire chief and will lead our outstanding fire department for the future. Other city departments also continue achieving accolades and recognitions for superlative performance and accomplishments.

The city of Fayetteville was honored this year with the Atlanta regional commission’s 2021 regional excellence award for “livable center.” The city earned the award for the new Fayetteville city hall & city center park, which represents a key investment in the revitalization of the city’s downtown district.

Our customer service staff in all departments continue to operate at the highest level ensuring all customer interaction is done so in a professional, timely, and courteous manner.

In addition, our public works staff continually go above and beyond to ensure the city is safe and aesthetically pleasing.

Our city’s finance department continues to receive awards and accolades from outside agencies for sound practices in fiscal accountability and reporting. We continue to be fiscally responsible as evidenced by our citizen budget committee that assists with the annual budget development and review processes.

Our downtown revitalization efforts have resulted in investments from the private sector, and the success can be seen at the triumph station event venues and retail shops, which opened last fall on the eastern edge of city center park.

You can see even greater accomplishment on the south side of the park as the Walton communities multi-use development is coming out of the ground.

Once completed, this will further enhance the vibrancy in the downtown and stimulate even more economic growth in the downtown area, and throughout the city. The city is growing, but we are committed to ensure it is quality and managed growth.

We continue to oversee quality growth on the south side of town at the Fayette meadows residential development and on the North side at the Satterfield mixed-use development along highway 85.

Fayetteville’s East side remains primarily residential in nature, but we are seeing improvements along the highway 54 west corridor as well.

We can not forget all of the exciting new developments that are taking place on the west side at the trilith studios and in the adjacent town at Trilith multi-use development. This unique new urbanist development continues to be nationally recognized.

As mentioned, safety is a high priority in the city, and to add to that, the Georgia department of transportation is making several traffic safety enhancements to key intersections within the city limits.

In addition, the city continues to study high accident areas to improve the level of safety. 2022 is the year we will begin to make significant safety and aesthetic enhancements to the busy alleyway behind our downtown businesses on the courthouse square.

This portion of our historic downtown district has been the heart and soul of Fayetteville for many years, and we want to do what we can to preserve it and bring people back to the downtown as a destination place.

We will continue studying the feasibility of new trail and path systems to better connect our neighborhoods, schools, and parks.

All of this adds to the quality of life we enjoy in Fayetteville. Citizen engagement, input, and activism is essential to our understanding of what the citizens desire and need to make them proud of our community.

We held a second annual homeowners association (HOA) boot camp in 2021 aimed at staying connected with and helping Fayetteville’s how members and leaders connect with one another, and with the city staff and elected officials. These meetings have become so popular that there is now a demand for them to take place more frequently, so this year we are introducing the first-ever series of HOA round table events.

Similar to our HOA boot camps, these round table events will offer more opportunities for open communication, problem-solving, and future planning. The first event of 2022 takes place this Saturday morning, February 19, at 10:00 am. You can learn more at www.fayetteville-ga.gov/hoa.

We are excited about the development and near completion of our new and improved city website with its social engagement hub and many more features that will help residents, businesses, organizations, and guests better connect with the city of Fayetteville government and with one another.

The new website will be a virtual representation of our new city hall, and we think you’re going to love it. We expect to launch this new website in March, so be sure to look out for it.

In 2021 we completed the overhaul of our wastewater treatment plant making it more technologically advanced and efficient. This will allow the plant to be operated with state-of-the-art processing.

Although the covid pandemic limited many of the city-sponsored activities and events in 2021, we have started to plan several community events and activities to bring the community together.

The 2021 annual Christmas parade was well planned and executed and was well attended by citizens largely because we had an even greater festival-like atmosphere with our miracle on Mainstreet event in the new city park.

Again ladies and gentlemen and fellow citizens of Fayetteville, despite the challenges in the presence of the covid pandemic, what we as a community have accomplished in 2021 is exceptional.

As we hopefully are coming out of the pandemic and the economic hardships and instability, we will endeavor to demonstrate even greater leadership and accountability in 2022. thank you for your attention and support, and it is our hope that, working together, our city’s future will be even more successful.

Good evening, and may God bless all of us and our beloved city.

By Michael Cuneo

Michael Cuneo is a news and sports reporter for the Fayette County News. Michael graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Journalism in 2020. In his off time, Michael enjoys torturing himself as an Atlanta Falcons fan. Follow Michael on twitter @michaelcune