Big ticket agenda items moving forward in city
We’ve invited Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell to share updates from the city in a monthly column.
Logansport has been spared the wrath of hurricanes and wildfires that have ravaged much of the country in the past month, and with time to spare, we entered the final quarter of the year with several things to accomplish in October.
With the help of many people who are either elected or appointed to serve in city government, we were able to accomplish several things. The city council approved a 2018 budget that not only granted raises for all city employees, but addressed longevity pay issues that had not been acted upon for several years. The council’s action should continue to make our salaries and benefits competitive for our employees at a time when hiring qualified people and retaining them is a priority for all levels of government.
Several meetings during the month addressed plans for the Logansport Municipal Building Corporation and properties the city owns through the Blight Elimination Program and other purchases. The ReVere Homes project undertaken by Crestline Corporation is now in its final stages of preparation for review by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority thanks to the efforts of the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office, our city attorney, council, deputy mayor and the LMBC. If we’re successful in securing state funding, single-family homes will be built in several areas of the city that will add property value to our tax base and fill a portion of our housing void.
The biggest of the big ticket items during the month came in the form of the biggest check we’ll receive this year – figuratively speaking. Gov. Eric Holcomb presented Councilman Terry Doran and myself with a check for $547,395 in matching Community Crossings funds that will be used to pave and repair city streets. In sum, we have now secured more than $1.5 million in state funding for street and road repair in the past 22 months. In comparison with our six peer cities in Indiana, only one, Huntington, received more funding this year than Logansport.
Council President Teresa Popejoy, Councilman Dave Morris and myself met with utility officials and consultants last month to discuss other projects. Stormwater problems downtown and in the heart of the city is being addressed by the Logansport Municipal Utilities. To LMU’s credit, painting of downtown fire hydrants has been completed and efforts to reduce the costs of installing energy-efficient LED streetlighting are advancing. We also are reviewing costs and estimates for utilities in the Unger Addition.
We were fortunate to partner with the Logansport Community School Corporation to host Indiana’s drug czar, Jim McClelland. He spoke to all Logansport junior high and high school students, detailing the dangers and problems we face from the opioid epidemic, which has its epicenter just east of the Indiana/Ohio state line. On the same day, we also were able to sponsor community training on combating active shooters. More than two dozen people attended that meeting at McHale Performing Arts Center.
During the month, I attended two of the three conferences I will attend this year. In Evansville, mayors and other city officials met from throughout the state for our annual conference. Evansville has the distinction of having the lowest crime rate of all of Indiana’s major cities. One of its public safety components is a Safe Places program, which is the same program organizers are attempting to put in place locally here.
I also was fortunate to be invited to attend the Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship in California. Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood and I were the only mayors from Indiana attending. We realized we are lucky we don’t have some of the problems cities across the United States are facing. We’re also supportive of the efforts entrepreneurs and start-ups are facing in moving their discoveries into the marketplace and the role cities have in enabling it to happen. Several examples and avenues of entrepreneurship were featured in the conference, and hopefully some of those can be implemented in the near future in our city. The conference is rare in that it came at no cost to the city or myself.
Finally, our police department worked with other departments to arrest a suspect in a multi-state robbery investigation. I appreciate the efforts Chief Rob Smith and his officers including A.J. Rozzi put into this investigation and the cooperation of the state and federal agencies. Many people went above and beyond to investigate two rare armed robberies in our community.
We continue to work on our pressing concerns, which are economic development, finding new tenants for both Marsh supermarket buildings, and redeveloping the Logansport Mall. Our retail recruiter is on the job, as our economic development officials for the city and county.
It is a privilege to serve as your mayor, and if you have ideas, concerns or comments, please feel free to call our office at 574-753-2551, or e-mail us at email@example.com.