Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight gave his eleventh State of the City address Monday evening. The mayor celebrated the improvement in the city’s unemployment rate along with the strength of its finances and work toward developing new housing.
Goodnight says the success Kokomo has seen over the past 10 years has been a shared effort. He says the work to transform the city continues with the new housing developments, 306 Riverfront and Silver Birch of Kokomo. He adds the city continues to work on its urban infilling program to repurpose vacant lots and revitalize neighborhoods to return the properties to the tax rolls.
"We need more than just new houses and apartments to get people to stay here, move here, and invest here," said Goodnight. "We have to continue, in earnest, our mission to make Kokomo the best place to live in Indiana."
Goodnight says the city ended 2017 in strong financial shape by underspending the city budget by 10 percent. He says the city will continue to compensate its employees fairly, while also making the best financial decisions for taxpayers.
Looking forward to 2018, the mayor said the city has plans to continue to improve quality of life. One of the major parts of that plan is to improve Wildcat Creek.
"During my 53 years as a proud Kokomo resident, we have never truly valued Wildcat Creek," said Goodnight. "We neglected it, and failed to recognize its potential. Having a scenic waterway run through the heart of a city, is an enviable thing. This year, you will see a concerted effort to continue cleaning up the Creek, enhancing the trails around it, and turning Wildcat Creek into an asset for our community."
Other plans include a new dog park near the Industrial Heritage Trail, the redevelopment of two neighborhoods and the creation of a new transit center for the city’s trolley system. Goodnight also mentioned what he described as the "worst kept secret in Kokomo", which is a new hotel and conference center. He says a formal announcement on the "transformative" project is forthcoming.
You can view the full State of the City address below: