Thank you for giving me the opportunity to once more address our citizens on the status of our city in which we live, work & play. 2019 was like no other for this community. In my humble opinion, four days in September was one of the greatest weekends in our city’s history…and I am not talking about Indiana’s largest four-day festival. I speak of the Vietnam Wall weekend where thousands came out to River Park Square in a very somber atmosphere to memorialize over 58 thousand soldiers, sailors and marines that died in that awful war 50+ years ago. It was powerful! It was mournful! It was so well organized, and I truly want to thank each and every committee member and especially the VFW, the American Legion, the DAV as well as John Pasley Sr. and Mike Boys for bringing this forward.
In October Aviation Indiana awarding our little landing strip on the northside as the Indiana Airport of the Year was incredible! So many new improvements over the last ten years and we’ve applied for a grant through INDOT’s Office of Aviation for a parallel taxiway. 31 students from a co-op of ten school systems are studying aviation right here in our city. Fellow mayors of mine have been here to see what Bill, Zach and AlphaFlight have been able to do out there. What a great accomplishment…The Hoosier State just woke-up a sleeping giant!
And of course, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce naming us Community of the Year with a grand dinner at the Indiana Convention Center on November 7th. Over 100 community members went to our capitol city that night to celebrate and it was truly a night to behold!
On December 5th more great news when we found out by way of the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs that Marshall County Crossroads became a Stellar Community!
Our slogan: Great Hometowns: One Vision
ONE VISION! 2020 VISION!
Probably one of the biggest Plymouth visionaries is in this room tonight; a retired business owner and one of the hardest working volunteers this city has ever seen. He and his committee have taken on the Rees Theater project which is now a part of the Stellar program. Also, in the Stellar program is Crossroads Plaza which would take the northeast corner of Michigan & Jefferson and turn it into a pocket park celebrating Plymouth’s junction of two major American highways right here in our community. Another Randy Danielson concept. I call him Mr. Aesthetics!
Mr. Danielson thank you for your service! The Rees will be bringing music, the arts, an events palace for wedding receptions, class reunions, banquets and fundraising dinners. (And just a warning, RD…Plymouth hosted the Northern Indiana Mayor’s Roundtable at the Bardwell Aquatics Center last month. I promised the mayors that next year we will be hosting our roundtable at the Rees!)
Of all our Stellar projects, the second phase of River Park Square will be one of the first projects out of the gate. I foresee a Veterans’ Plaza in the area east of River Street not far from our soon to be renovated historic footbridge. A place to honor & remember those that paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms. An expanded community garden and kid’s playground along with a picnic shelter would vastly improve RPS in that area as well.
This past summer we cut the ribbon for the second phase of the Greenway Trail near the new footbridge in Gill Park. Phase #3 is also a Stellar project and would start at Garro Street and would follow the Mighty Yellow inside of River Park Square passing by our brand-new canoe & kayak launch all the way to the new bridge at River Gate South.
I would love to see more renovation and improvements of the South Michigan Street Railroad viaduct…and maybe (with even more bureaucracy involving INDOT,) a revitalized Center Street viaduct could be in our future.
Riverside Meadows which was formed by a group of investors in 2007 with an OCRA grant will be back online within the Stellar Program. Not long after construction began back then, the bottom fell out of the US economy and it destroyed many programs like Riverside Meadows. Bringing this back and finishing this project is something we have to do. We have been talking about the improvement of our housing market for many years now and this is a great start to keep that up.
Centennial Crossing on the far northside began excavation just last month and things are moving along. 275 units which includes senior housing, single family dwellings, apartments, villaminiums and a clubhouse are part of the plan. And it is so good to see a local developer bring this forward. Thanks to Construction Management and Design for growing more housing in Plymouth.
Last May, the Indiana Supportive Housing Institute Board approved funding to create permanent supportive housing in Plymouth. Garden Court Incorporated was awarded over $1.7 million that will go towards the new construction of 18 units of housing on West Jefferson Street west of Oak Drive. Construction will begin in late spring on this endeavor that has gone through many hoops to finally become reality. Thanks to all involved form making this happen!
For a few years I have spoken to the family Mayor Charles Glaub about new signage on the far northside of Plymouth near Centennial Crossing. In 1970 the Glaub administration purchased 78 acres of land to expand Centennial Park. This was only three years after the first Marshall County Blueberry Festival…and we all know what happened after that. When the park expanded so did our festival, which now boasts the largest 4-day festival in the State of Indiana. The sign would read ENTERING THE CHARLES O. GLAUB ADDITION TO CENTENNIAL PARK…ESTABLISHED 1970. This would be on Randolph Street just south Plymouth-Goshen Trail. It has been 50 years since this acquisition occurred and our community needs to commemorate that!
What can one say about our current job growth mainly on the far westside of Plymouth? The Fall of 2017 would not have been good for any community losing 250 jobs in about a three-week period. Our first and fourth largest utility customers were gone by national corporate decisions without a whisper until the mayor gets a WARN Act Letter. But, my how things have changed. Thanks to the MCEDC and Executive Director Jerry Chavez along with City Attorney Sean Surrisi we will in the next year nearly double those losses. Retention of jobs and companies are just as important as getting “The Big One,” if you will:
- Pretzels Inc.
- AK Industries
- LA Poly
- Hoosier Racing Tire
are all staying here and growing their production and their workforces. The additions of an international company such as Indiana Wheels along with Winona Building Products and Harrington Noodles are fresh faces, we will see here in our city for many years to come.
But, just think about those abandoned production facilities that are getting bought up.
- The AMI building on Walter Glaub Drive by Bomarko
- the Hehr building on Stanley Drive by AK Industries
- the Hehr building on Oak Drive by 1101 Oak Drive LLC
- the Delmonte building by Winona Building Products
- the Bay Valley storage facility on VanVactor Drive by Indiana Wheels…and the granddaddy of them all:
- The pickled and peppered Bay Valley building on Western Avenue taken over by LA Poly. As I can tell, this leaves only the Hoya/3M (which still has a skeleton crew working there) and the atrocious Indiana Heat Transfer on West Harrison as the only major manufacturing structures left. That should be amazing to all of us in this room.
I also would like to announce this evening the possibility of researching a fire territory system involving Center & West Townships as well as The City. Plymouth is growing! With hundreds of new jobs, increasing economic development and the possibility of 275 new units on the northside we really need to look at adding more full-time firefighters and paramedics. I would put our Plymouth Volunteers up against any in the state, but daytime availability for many is not possible these days. We need gradual steps in doubling the size of our full-time force over six-year period. That is from 12 to 24. Is that aggressive? Yes! We would obviously need to involve the trustees of both Center & West Townships as well as their boards. This also will involve the Board of Public Works & Safety as the dedicated committee overseeing these future plans.
Baker-Tilly has a specialist named Paige Sansone that spoke to us about this more than 10-years ago. We plan on getting Paige involved soon to make a presentation to the Board of Works as well as township leaders.
With the growth I described we also need to look at new stations for police and fire. Both of our current stations are from the early 70s and definitely in need of repair. Whether it would Public Safety building or separate stations, we will have to figure that out. But I think it’s the right thing to do for the future of our city and the safety of our residents!
Solar energy is the up and coming thing nationwide. It is a renewable free source of energy that is sustainable and totally limitless. Last fall Plymouth was awarded the SolSmart Gold Designation for changing our ordinances to become more solar friendly. Thanks to MACOG for getting that off the ground and now The City is looking at two more locations to bring solar farms into our community. One would be in the field just east of the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the second would be on the roof of the Dr. Susan Bardwell Aquatics’ Center. These would go along with what we did at the airport in 2016.
I would also like to bring back a program we started a few years ago, Operation: Bright Spot. We have to do a better job at keeping up with some nasty homes and businesses these days. I can think of one awful building on West Jefferson and an ugly overgrown abandoned house on Lake Avenue that both need to go. We have other issues as well that could be improved.
Adding to the budget for 2021 should be a recording system for where we sit tonight. It is time for the citizens of Plymouth to be able to watch our Board of Works and Common Council meetings from their home or even their mobile phones.
Lastly, I would just like to thank each and every department head and elected official that makes this city go and grow.
- Our Clerk-Treasurer Jeanine Xaver and her staff for handling the budget, Human Resources, billings and bond payments, all of the clerical needs and the many other entities that are wrapped up in that office…
- City Attorney Sean Surrisi for his steady economic development strategies and being involved in so many aspects of our comprehensive plan and our Stellar program…
- Each department supervisor for bringing stable leadership without micromanagement…
- Thanks to the great employees of Plymouth. They all do an outstanding job and I hear nothing but praise while I am out and about in the city. I commend each and every one of you for a job well done and I know you will keep up the great work!
- The City Council for being so conscientious and always asking the right questions when we have a matter at hand…
- The many volunteer board & committee members that take a couple of hours a month to make proper decisions for the betterment of our community…
Futurist, author & lecturer Joel Barker once said:
Vision without action is merely a dream…
Action without vision just passes the time…
Vision with action can change the world…
WE ARE PLYMOUTH…WE ARE HOOSIERS WITH 2020 VISION…WE CAN DO ANYTHING!