Mayor Jerry Abramson said 2008 will be a transformative year for Louisville with new investments and initiatives, despite a national economic downturn that is beginning to impact the city.
Residents will see new environmental initiatives to make Louisville more “green.” The city will announce a community-wide campaign to encourage people who have some college credit to finish their degrees, no matter their age. And Jefferson County Public Schools will announce its new student assignment plan designed to keep schools diverse without relying solely on race.
Abramson, delivering his annual “State of the City” speech at the Downtown Rotary Club, said major projects already in progress will move forward, impacting all areas of the city.
Downtown will continue its unprecedented momentum with construction of Museum Plaza, the arena and new housing. The first quarter of the 100-mile Louisville Loop will open this spring and the City of Parks projects will unveil its master plan for the Floyds Fork corridor. UPS will add new workers with its ongoing expansion at WorldPort and Louisville will feel the positive impact of 5,000 new civilian jobs coming to Fort Knox.
“I am a lifelong Louisvillian, and I don’t remember any time that we have had more new projects and initiatives transforming our landscape,” Abramson said.
Abramson said the city is not immune to the slowing economy but he’s confident that, managed correctly, Metro Government can weather the rough times ahead.
The city this week extended its hiring freeze indefinitely — and Abramson has asked all city departments to examine ways to cut their budgets by to overcome an estimated $9 million shortfall.
Nonetheless, Abramson said, the city will continue to invest in new projects.
“We must plant the seeds today that will bloom as the sun shines and the economy regains strength in the future,” he said. “Projects like the bridges and the rebuild of Spaghetti Junction can’t get lost of the fog of short-term financial uncertainties. They must move forward.”
Read the Mayor's speech here.