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June 5, 2024

Mayor's State of the City Address: A Vision for Growth and Connectivity


City Council Chambers, June 3rd, 1:00 PM

In a spirited State of the City address, the Mayor laid out a comprehensive vision for economic development, infrastructure improvements, and community revitalization. With a keen focus on both immediate and long-term projects, the Mayor highlighted several key initiatives aimed at transforming the city into a hub of connectivity and growth.

One of the major highlights of the address was the economic development plans surrounding Highway 97. The Mayor emphasized the strategic importance of enhancing connectivity to the airport, which is expected to spur commercial activity and make the city more accessible. Complementing this initiative is the planned southern bypass around the southeast of the city, which aims to ease traffic congestion and facilitate smoother transportation routes.

The Mayor also revealed an ambitious revitalization project for the North Green Country Club. This initiative is designed to breathe new life into the area, attracting visitors and residents alike. Additionally, a 300-acre master-planned development at the intersection of I-64 and I-95 is set to become a cornerstone of regional development, promising new commercial and residential opportunities.

Addressing the city's transit needs, the Mayor announced an ongoing microtransit study supported by a grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). This study will explore the feasibility of implementing a microtransit system to enhance local mobility. Furthermore, the Mayor introduced a commuter bus line initiative aimed at shuttling workers to major employers in the area, thereby reducing traffic and improving access to job centers.

The Mayor proudly reported a surge in hospitality and hotel activity, highlighting significant increases in visitor spending. Nash County saw a remarkable $334 million in visitor spending, marking an 11% increase, while Edgecombe County experienced a 4.5% increase with $69 million in visitor spending. Tourism has generated over $28 million in state and local taxes and created approximately 3,000 jobs in the area.

A renewed focus on downtown development was another cornerstone of the Mayor's address. The opening of Five Points Crossing marks a significant milestone, along with an $800,000 grant for streetscape and lighting improvements. The Mayor also celebrated the $3.3 million in funding support from HUD in 2023, which is being funneled into transformative projects.

Notably, the Downtown Mixed-Use Improvement Project (DMIIP) includes two key projects: the construction of 36 apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail space. These efforts are expected to inject vitality into the downtown area, attracting residents and businesses.

In a positive update on public safety, the Mayor reported that the police force is nearing full staffing, with very few vacancies left. This progress underscores the city’s commitment to maintaining a safe environment for its residents. The Mayor also highlighted ongoing neighborhood revitalization efforts, which include enforcing codes to improve living conditions and overall community standards.

The Mayor’s State of the City address painted a promising picture of growth, connectivity, and revitalization. With strategic investments in infrastructure, transit, tourism, and community development, the city is poised for a bright and prosperous future. The Mayor’s vision, supported by robust funding and innovative initiatives, aims to create a thriving, connected, and vibrant city for all its residents.

Watch the speech from Mayor Sandy Roberson here!

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