Louisville a city in transformation, with strong momentum, Mayor Fischer declares
”You can see our momentum. You can feel it. And you can count it!”
LOUISVILLE (Jan. 28, 2016) – Declaring Louisville as “a city in transformation,” Mayor Greg Fischer said today that he’s extremely optimistic and ambitious about the future, and that the momentum in the city is palpable.
“We live in a world that’s in transformation. And as a city, our goal is to do more than keep up with the pace of global change; it’s to leap ahead,” Fischer said, during his annual State of the City address, delivered to the Downtown Rotary Club during a luncheon at the Galt House. That’s why he has worked to stabilize the city’s economy and Metro’s budget; innovate Metro’s service delivery; and transform Louisville into a global city.
- Since January 2011, Louisville has created more than 47,000 new jobs.
- Unemployment has dropped from 10.3 percent to 4.8 percent.
- In 2011, the city had a $25 million budget deficit. This year, the city had an $18.9 million budget surplus, spurred by an improved economy.
- The city has seen the opening of 1,900 new businesses.
In the last year alone, Fischer said, the city has announced:
- A $1.3 billion investment and 2000 new jobs at Ford;
- A $310 million expansion and 300 new jobs at UPS;
- A $180 million expansion and renovation at the Kentucky International Convention Center;
- Small business loans totaling about $60 million in investment, up from $35 million in 2014;
- A $16.9 million dollar TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help transform Dixie Highway;
- And tomorrow, Fischer said, the city will break ground on the transformational $300 million Omni Hotel and Residences in downtown Louisville.
“These transformations are the result of years of work by people in and out of Metro Government – people who believe, as I do, that it’s time for Louisville to play in the world’s big league, and play with the entrepreneurial gusto to win,” Fischer said.
Ongoing Work to Create Shared Prosperity for Citizens
Noting ongoing challenges, the Mayor highlighted numerous initiatives underway to make the city healthier, safer, stronger, more compassionate, and a community “where the path to prosperity and opportunity is open to every single one of our citizens.”
Initiatives to tackle Louisville’s health challenges include Humana’s Bold Goal, which complements the city’s Healthy Louisville 2020 Plan; the Green Heart Project by U of L and Institute for Healthy Air and Water and Soil; and TreesLouisville, dedicated to growing an arboretum of trees in every neighborhood in Louisville.
The Mayor announced that he would be discussing with the Metro Council a proposal to invest $1 million toward the $4.5 million renovation of the St. Matthews Eline Library, which has the highest circulation of any branch in the Louisville Free Public Library System.
Fischer touted the achievements of the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, which is working with a cross section of community partners to reduce the number of homicides, suicides and drug overdoses in our city. And he highlighted the new Pivot to Peace partnership with Kentucky One Health, Peace Education and the University of Louisville Hospital. Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and its partners have brought $10 million in grant money to the city for various initiatives.
He also announced that the initiative to outfit the Louisville Metro Police Department patrol officers with body cameras is more than 80 percent complete, and will be complete by June 30.
Fischer asked for the public’s help with two tools necessary to create even greater transformations in Louisville:
- He asked all businesses in Louisville to participate in the SummerWorks program, either by hiring students this summer, or making a donation to the program. In its first year, SummerWorks helped 200 kids find summer jobs; last year, that number jumped to more than 2,500. But citing impressive programs in other cities like Boston, and the “transformational experience” that a summer job provides, Fischer said he wants to serve even more young people in 2016.
- He also urged all Louisvillians to support LIFT, or the “local option,” which would give Kentucky communities the right to vote for themselves on whether to fund specific, capital projects through a 1-cent tax, which goes away when the project is complete.
(Louisvillians can call 1-800-372-7181 and ask their state legislator to support LIFT. If a caller gives their address, they will route their message to the appropriate legislators.)
The Mayor opened and closed his speech with references to Abraham Lincoln, “the great President” for whom our new downtown bridge is named.
Fischer noted that Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
“Our city’s transformation is underway. It’s happening now,” the Mayor said. “And we have everything we need to create a big, bold, bright future for all our citizens.”