Launching of Mayor’s Youth Council
Over the past few weeks, my office, with the support of individuals in our community, have been hard at work preparing for the launch of a Mayor’s Youth Council. The Mayor’s Youth Council is a newly forming council that gives area youth an opportunity to be civically engaged and participate in efforts, including policy development, service, and recreation. The launch video can be viewed by visiting this link.
Too often, young people are inadvertently excluded from the decision-making process, even on the issues that most concern them and their future. It is important for our community that youth have a meaningful chance to affect change. Youth Councils have proven to be an effective way to get youth more involved in solving local problems and more actively engaged in the community, outside of school time.
Now having received applications from over 30 youth in our community, acceptance letters have been sent out. Our first meeting will be taking place this week. I look forward to sharing the group’s progress in future Community Updates.
Commitment to Sustainability
Over the past two months, myself, members of the community and City Staff have been meeting regularly in anticipation of a forming Mayor’s Council on Sustainability. At last Tuesday’s Council meeting, an important step occurred in ensuring continued sustainable practices for our community. The Council, through adoption of a resolution, renewed the City’s commitment to sustainability and formally set in motion continued and improved sustainable practices for our community.
In my 2014 State of the City Address, I announced the intent to create a Mayor’s Council on Sustainability. The re-formation of a city Sustainability Committee marks a major effort and continuation in our city’s journey to greater Sustainability as it relates to consumption of resources (energy, water) and its environmental impact (recycling, emissions, etc.).
With the now adopted resolution and upcoming launch of a Sustainability Council this February, a significant opportunity exists for the city to begin examining our practices, to positively impact our City’s health and environment today, and for future generations. I look forward to measurable improvements to reduce consumption, expand reuse and recycling, improve efficiency of buildings and transportation, enhance community wellness, and preserve our living environment for all those who live here. Watch for a formal announcement of our first Sustainability Council meeting, and if you have an interest in joining, please contact my office to be added to the contact list.
Tribune Building Action
Last Tuesday, City Council voted to approve a proposed developer’s agreement with Community Property, Inc. related to the Tribune Building Project. One aspect of that agreement was the sale of the Market Square parking lot, to meet the city parking requirement for the development. As such, the Market Square parking lot became a connected solution to that problem. The parking lot sale wasn’t without commitments from the developer. Those commitments include maintenance and reconstruction of the parking lot, guaranteed annual payments to the City to support ongoing Tax Increment Finance (TIF) developments, and a reversionary interest to ensure the space remains a parking lot going forward.
The concept behind the Tribune project and waterfront redevelopment is not new. From past planning and investment by residents, administrations and city councils over the past three decades, many have participated in planning through multiple downtown redevelopment plans. Now, after decades of planning, the stars are aligned for action. It is my hope that the City continue to partner with other property owners in determining the best and highest reuse/development- not only adjacent and near the Tribune building but all across our waterfront district. Around the City- particularly downtown along the waterfront- we have many remaining structures and buildings, some vacant, blighted or contaminated. It is my hope that the Tribune Building Project is just the beginning to putting these ‘bones’ to good use.
I have been impressed throughout this project and recent downtown development conversations by the energy and enthusiasm of our residents. Their energy around our City’s future is inspiring on many levels and has in many ways been absent in our community for too long. I am pleased the Council has supported moving forward with property acquisition to support development on the east side of the river. Council’s support of the sale of the Market Square parking lot with the aforementioned commitments is a solid way to support development on the west side of the river without the expenditure of city funds. I very much look forward to the attraction of millions of dollars of investment into the redevelopment, and hope to one day say how proud I am that the city believed in the potential that once was.
Coffee With the Mayor
Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 27, I invite you to join me at From the Ground Up Coffeehouse, 250 West Grand Avenue, from 8:30-9:30AM for my next coffee session. All are welcome to join me to ask questions and provide me feedback. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet and have conversation. Spread the word to friends and neighbors!
2015 State of the City Announcement
I will be holding my third-annual State of the City address on Wednesday, February 4, 2015. This year’s State of the City will take place at McMillan Memorial Library, with a pre-address reception taking place at 6:30PM, and remarks beginning at 7:00PM. A video highlighting details can be viewed here.
I look forward to highlighting the initiatives my office has been working on, and introducing a vision that provides the basis for priorities during the upcoming year. RSVP is recommended. You can RSVP online at this link, or contacting my office directly by calling 715-421-8216. I look forward to seeing you there! For those who can not attend, the address will also be broadcast live on RCCA’s website, or on Solarus channel 3/Charter channel 985.
Thank you for reading,
Mayor Zach Vruwink