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State of the City: A Brighter Spot on the Map

February 28, 2012
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        02/29/12 Mayor Mark Senter presented his State of the City address Monday evening during the Common Council meeting.  He started out thanking the “great employees of Plymouth” noting the outstanding jobs they do.  Senter also commented on the department heads saying they “are beyond reproach and enthusiastically go out of the way to make the city a better place to live and work.”

Plymouth’s mayor introduced the new city attorney Sean Surrisi and Fire Chief Rod Miller and thanked Nelson Chipman for his service and City Clerk Treasurer Toni Hutchings for her financial leadership.

Getting into the focus of his address, Mayor Senter’s speech this year was “A Brighter Spot on the Map.”  He spoke of Operation Bright Spot, calling out the names of businesses that have issues that need to be addressed.  The mayor said, “We have heard from a few.”  He noted, “Most of these property owners do not live or work in Marshall County or Plymouth.  They do not notice the dilapidation and degradation of their properties.”

The next “Bright Spot on the Map” is River Park Square.  Senter talked about the Youth Council’s work to name the park and the work of the Troyer Group, Revitalization Committee, Park Board and Redevelopment Commission in making the park “a place for families to picnic, festivals to thrive, kids to play and farmers to sell their wares at the market.”

A “Bright Spot on the Map” is the cooperative work with the Marshall County Economic Development Center.  The mayor spoke of job retention and creation.  He gave two examples: Hoosier Tire’s $8 million rubber mixing plant, Zentis’ new expansion promising 25 new jobs and a $4.5 investment and Stone Creek Homes which started in September and already have 60 employees.

Other Bright Spots on the Mayor’s Map were: the airport with the new businesses that are operating there and the improved appearance of the facility with a new paint job and signage.  Improvements to Oak Drive and the Tech Farm were mentioned and the partnership between the City, DC Tech and PIDCO for free Wi-Fi in the downtown area.

The Plymouth Redevelopment Commission’s commitment of $1.5 million to improve the city’s water system and 3 new wells at the Pine Road Plant and improvements at the Ledyard plant were “Bright Spots on the Map, especially due to the fact that these projects are being done without a rate increase.

Mayor Senter closed with a quote from President Kennedy, “Change is the law of life.  And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” The then said, “Learning from the past and living in the present, let’s look to the future and brighten this beautiful city we call home!”

Complete State of the City Address follow:

Good evening and thank you for this opportunity to address the Common Council tonight on the status of this wonderful city in which we live and work.  It is my distinct pleasure for four years now to serve the City of Plymouth as your mayor.

Let me start out by thanking 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 department heads are beyond reproach and enthusiastically go out of the way to make the city a better place to live and work.  I had not planned on making department head changes, but it happened anyway!  Tonight I would like to introduce to you again new City Attorney Sean Surrisi.  This is his first day on the job, but he hit the ground running after shadowing Nelson for the last month.  I am also pleased to announce tonight that Rodney Miller will be the next Fire Chief.  Rod has 22 years on the department and will officially start on Wednesday March 1st.  Please welcome them to the City of Plymouth family and I look forward to their leadership.

I want to thank the new Common Council for your input, your thoughts and your conscientious decisions in making this city go!

To Mr. Chipman…thank you!  I sort of wonder at times what it would have been like had you not been full time from the beginning.  Your guidance and advice has been immeasurable and will be missed by all of us.

And to Clerk Treasurer Toni Hutchings:  Thank you!  Again, your financial leadership has put us in great shape for not only this year but many years to come!

I start out tonight talking about OPERATION BRIGHT SPOT!  It has not always been bright…matter of fact some have called it blight!  We have businesses in this area whose out-of-town owners need to step-up and clean-up their sites.  A few weeks ago I named names in order to get the attention of those owners and so far we have heard from a few.  Most of these owners do not live and work in Marshall County or Plymouth.  They do not notice the dilapidation and degradation of their properties.  They do not realize the impact on Plymouth’s property values.  And apparently the do not care!  Working with the Marshall County Health Department and Building Commissioner Keith Hammonds we will keep the pressure on so that Plymouth can be a

  • A BRIGHTER SPOT ON THE MAP!

Last June at the Yellow River Festival the Mayor’s Youth Council named the downtown park RIVER PARK SQUARE.  With the assistance of the Troyer Group, the Revitalization Committee, the Park Board and the Redevelopment Commission River Park Square is on its way to becoming a place for families to picnic, festivals to thrive, kids to play and farmers to sell their wares at the market.

Along with that, we are applying again for a Transportation Enhancement Grant for a second phase of the Greenways Trail from Founders Park to Garro Street.

  • A BRIGHTER SPOT ON THE MAP!

The City is working well with the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation.  Job retention is just as important as job creation.  We have witnessed two great examples of that just this year with the expansion of both Hoosier Tire’s 8 million dollar rubber mixing plant and Zentis’ new expansion promising 25 jobs and a 4.5 million dollar investment.   I know of two other plants that are looking at expansion and well.  And we must not forget Stone Creek Homes which just began in September but are already up to over 50 jobs.

Partnering with the Marshall County Community Foundation Jennifer Laurent and her staff of Derrick and Pam has been tireless in their efforts at Economic Development Community Conversations the last two Novembers.  Jennifer is truly a great addition to the county and city’s identity.

  • A BRIGHTER SPOT ON THE MAP!

The Plymouth Municipal Airport has seen many changes in 18 months.  Two new businesses (Ft. Wayne Helicopter and Plymouth Sky Sports) are both very popular especially in the Spring and Summer.  The aesthetics have changed too with a new paint job on the main office and hangar and new signage out front.

  • A BRIGHTER SPOT ON THE MAP!

Oak Drive was completed in November and what a great addition to the northwest corridor.  Safety of both the motoring and walking public has been improved dramatically along with much improved aesthetics.

Thanks to a partnership between the City of Plymouth’s Redevelopment Commission, the US Economic Development Administration, Scott Hughes of Hughes and Associates and Van Vactor Development, the TechFarm is raring to grow!  The roads, sewer, water, and fiber optic infrastructure that have been put in place provide a “shovel ready” location for technology companies wishing to locate and grow in Plymouth.

With the Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation partnering with The City and DC Tech we now have downtown Wi-Fi.  Two free hours of wireless Internet access to anyone who visits, works, or lives in the Downtown area.

  • A BRIGHTER SPOT ON THE MAP!

The Plymouth Redevelopment Commission has committed $1.5 Million dollar improvement of the city’s water system and 3 new wells at the Pine Road Plant  There is also a $175,000 improvement of the Ledyard Plant with a new filtering system which will start this Spring.  Both of these projects can be done without a utility rate increase.

  • A BRIGHTER SPOT ON THE MAP!

From one extreme to the other!  On January 30th I got a tour of the dilapidated Furniture Store in the South Gateway and from there we went directly to the Community Resource Center on West Adams  Hopefully, by May both will be finished…the Cook Building in a pile of rubble and the CRC opening and greeting new not-for-profits agencies in one setting.  Granted the CRC is not a city project, but this 26 year-old dream of so many will help beautify that corridor just west of the downtown area.

  • A BRIGHTER SPOT ON THE MAP!

In closing, President John Kennedy once said:  “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
Learning from the past and living in the present, let’s look to the future and brighten this beautiful city we call home!

 

 

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