Thursday January 2, 2014
Mayor Greg Fischer today released his annual report to citizens, highlighting the accomplishments of 2013 and looking ahead to 2014.
“From regaining all the jobs lost during the recession to Louisville's growing reputation as an epicenter of innovation and compassion, our city's momentum is strong,” Fischer said. “2013 was a banner year for job creation, bridge construction and increasing the city's national and international reputation through recognitions in publications as diverse as Lonely Planet and Forbes.”
The Progress Louisville report can be viewed at Progress Louisville
--Regaining all jobs lost during the recession and creating 12,400 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. New companies include Gazelle in Riverport and BEAM Brands Global Business Support Center downtown.
--Starting a strategic initiative with JCPS to improve education through the Education Commitment. The city, with others, also created a special focus on Out of School Time programs.
--Reducing crime. Homicides were among the lowest rate since merger -- 51 homicides, compared to 60 last year, a 10-year low. Through the end of November, violent crime (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) was down 8 percent.
--Creating a city of compassion, including a visit by the Dalai Lama and 107,000 acts of compassion during the annual Give a Day week of service.
Looking ahead, the Mayor said some of the priorities for the new year include:
Growing the economy, with an intentional focus on innovation and 21st century jobs and growing wages “In addition, my team is working on some important capital projects that will not only create jobs but bring new retail and services to several neighborhoods," Fischer said.
Giving people the right to vote on investing in their community through Local Investments for Transformation (liftkentucky.com). LIFT will be the city's top priority in the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly, which starts in January. “This is the highest form of democracy, and Kentuckians are being denied this basic right to vote that citizens in 37 other states have,” Fischer said. “This is about Louisville’s future -- and ensuring that we are competitive with other cities to keep and attract skilled workers and talent.”
Growing the local food/spirits sector and culture with the bourbon and local food work group. “The goal: best food and bourbon city in America -- and that translates to jobs,” Fischer said.
Building even more strongly on the city's education efforts, with a particular focus on kindergarten readiness. Data shows that only 35% of children entering kindergarten are ready. Also, research shows that there is a 30 million word gap by the time a child from a low-income family reaches four years old when compared to their high-income peers.
“We want to focus on the quality of existing preschool programming while at the same time working to expand access to preschool services for our children from lower-income families,” Fischer said. “Addressing these issues requires the involvement of families, schools, private childcare providers, business and philanthropy, among others.”