Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014
Mt. Vernon City Address Highlights Investments
MT. VERNON -- It's been a year of growth and expansion in Mt. Vernon. Thursday, the mayor celebrated in her annual state of the city address.
She says $1 billion has been invested in the community in the past 5 1/2 years.
Mayor Mary Jane Chesley says attendance at this year's state of the city, compared to her first address in 2008, shows the pride people have in Mt. Vernon's progress.
It was a packed house at Thursday's state of Mt. Vernon address. According to Chesley, it's a good representation of the city's accomplishments in recent years.
Six years ago, Chesley says only a handful of people attended. "It was a little discouraging, but at that time we didn't really have a lot to talk about," she said. "We were in a formation stage and in a research and a planning stage."
But that's not the case anymore, as Mayor Chesley boasted to 145 people in the room, including Bruce Flanigan. He moved to town in 1975.
"Great quality of life, great place to live, great place to raise a family," he said.
With all the ribbon-cuttings and ground-breaking events in the last year, Flanigan says it's hard to miss the community's development.
"We realize in order to make an impact on the future we have to grow and we have to invest, not just for today, but tomorrow as well," he said.
And there's a long list of investments: from expansion at Continental Tire, to the new Good Samaritan Hospital, and even the "growing pains" Mayor Chesley called road construction.
"We're doing everything we can do make Mt. Vernon better," she insisted. "And when we get better, Jefferson County gets better and it strengthens our southern Illinois region as well."
Mayor Chesley says their next focus will be making Mt. Vernon a more permanent destination. Leaders are working on a new housing initiative to keep up with the city's growth.
"Have them live in Mt. Vernon, work in Mt. Vernon, stay in Mt. Vernon," Chesley added.
Mt. Vernon is currently adding more middle class housing to keep up with demand.
In July, the city will provide a five year update on it's comprehensive plan.
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