Thursday January 20, 2005
View full text of the Mayor's address
In his annual State of the City address, Mayor Jerry Abramson today laid out a vision for safer, stronger neighborhoods, a more expansive parks system and a strategic approach for growing jobs.
Continuing Louisville’s recent progress will take a committed, long-term investment, and Abramson said he’s willing to continue leading the charge in a second term as mayor.
“We have accomplished a great deal as a community and have set our sights high for the future,” Abramson said in a speech to the Rotary Club of Louisville. “You can count on me to remain engaged, involved and committed to helping our hometown be the best it can be – as we confront our most ambitious challenges and make the most of our opportunities.
“With that in mind, I want to announce that I will run for re-election next year,” he said. Abramson said a formal declaration is still months away but he wanted to make clear his commitment to a broad range of initiatives already underway and soon to come that will “create a quality of life that lifts Louisville to the top tier of America’s cities.”
In describing the current state of Louisville Metro to the nation’s 14th largest Rotary Club, Abramson said much progress has been made in the goals he originally outlined to the Rotary members in January 2003 including:
• A better funded, trained and equipped police force that’s working with citizens to prevent and solve crimes;
• A revitalized downtown that’s attracting millions of residents, visitors and dollars to our economy;
• A focused partnership with residents to strengthen neighborhoods, including concentrated housing efforts in Newburg, Portland and Clarksdale;
• A targeted, strategic approach to retaining jobs, expanding businesses and attracting companies and jobs to Louisville.
“We have made exciting progress over the past year that puts us in a strong position to move our community forward in the months and years ahead,” he said. “If we aim to lift up educational attainment across our community, to improve air quality, to reverse decades of decline in some of our neighborhoods, we are talking about long-term investments with a long time horizon,” he said.
Abramson said his priorities for the year ahead include:
• Bringing on-line the initial phase of the MetroSafe emergency communications system and renovating the former Federal Reserve Bank as its headquarters;
• Detailing a long-term plan for expanding and enhancing parks and adding recreational offerings for citizens throughout the community;
• Starting more than $30 million in long-needed improvements to park buildings, swimming pools, sidewalks, firehouses and community buildings;
• Continuing progress on $125 million in neighborhood drainage improvements with the second phase of Project DRI, the Drainage Response Initiative.
Abramson, Louisville’s longest serving mayor, noted that bold, long-term investments that began nearly two decades ago such as Waterfront Park and the expansion of Louisville International Airport have paid off as catalysts for the revitalization of downtown and the diversification of the region’s workforce.
Continuing Louisville’s progress, the mayor said, will require committed partnerships among elected leaders, citizens, businesses and community organizations, and reaching out beyond our city borders to build stronger connections for the common good.
“We can accomplish much with one united government working for our citizens,” Abramson said. “But we can accomplish much, much more in partnership with our citizens.”