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Fayetteville mayor brings attention to supporting at-risk residents, environmental and economic accomplishments in state of city address

Jordan calls for assisting most vulnerable residents by Stacy Ryburn | February 3, 2023 at 6:01 a.m.
Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan delivers his state of the city address at City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Courtesy/Fayetteville)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Mayor Lioneld Jordan touted the city's accomplishments in infrastructure, the economy and the environment while setting goals such as supporting vulnerable populations during his state of the city address Tuesday.

He described the state of the city as "sound."

The city so far has spent about $135 million of a $226 bond referendum with 10 issues voters approved in 2019, Jordan said.

"Infrastructure and public works projects are underway throughout the city," he said. "We're working on roads, intersections, traffic signals and drainage to help move traffic more safely."

Transportation projects aim to keep cars moving while providing more opportunities for alternative transportation such as walking, bicycling and bus travel, he said. City staff also are working on proposing a stormwater utility fee that would pay for flooding mitigation projects, and a new water and sewer rate structure to help fix and expand aging pipelines, Jordan said.

As far as public safety, Jordan said the city's firefighters saved $155 million in property. The Fire Department will add 12 new full-time positions this year. Two new fire stations opened in the city last year and a third will be completed this year, he said.

Police officers saved 21 people experiencing opioid overdoses last year and collected 180 pounds of unused or expired prescription medications, Jordan said. The department's Crisis Intervention Response Team referred 546 people experiencing mental health issues to assistance with clinics or nonprofits, he said. The new police headquarters will open in a few months, Jordan said.

The city diverted 14,000 tons of waste from the landfill last year and collected 39 tons of food waste with its composting program, he said. The city's solar array prevented 45,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere and reduced the city's energy costs at its facilities last year by $1 million, Jordan said.

City staff planted 500 trees last year and plan to plant 1,000 this year, he said.

Construction of a new parking deck downtown will finish this summer, Jordan said. The deck will replace the 290 spaces lost once the Walton Arts Center lot becomes the civic space of the arts corridor, known as the Ramble.

The city is contributing $3.5 million, along with a $3 million federal grant, for infrastructure work such as access roads and water and sewer lines for the SLS Community project on South Cato Springs Road. The project will bring vocational, residential and clinical resources to neurodiverse residents and their families, Jordan said.

Jordan included several economic figures in his speech. The city saw a $500 million increase in taxable sales last year compared to 2021. Local businesses added 4,000 new jobs. About 17,500 visitors from 21 countries came to the city for the UCI Cyclocross World Championships held in January 2022.

"Moving forward, I hope to see more encouraging results like these by exploring partnerships, pursing grants and creating an environment of equitable support for diverse local businesses," Jordan said.

Jordan also called for investing more resources to help at-risk residents. He implored the City Council to not overlook residents who are struggling.

"It's hard to appreciate street improvements, new trails or free concerts in the park when you are worried about feeding your family, finding child care that doesn't take your entire paycheck, or sleeping in a tent because you lost your home," he said.

Jordan said he wants to explore more ways to bring attainable housing options to the city. He said he wanted to balance use of the city's remaining portion of American Rescue Plan money between programs that benefit all residents and those that support people who need help the most.

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