Downtown has been a constant topic of concern. We have seen your pictures. We have a council work session scheduled where I feel sure at least some of your proposed solutions will be addressed.
Again I reiterate. We have been working consistently on this issue as have councils and Mayors who served before us. We now have the unusual circumstance of being a city in a county that has been going through a severe budget crisis. The outcome of this crisis has been fraying of the entire system from prevention, to intervention, to treatment, to arrest, to court processes, to incarceration and post incarceration services. This has produced an upsurge in repeat offenders and a message going out that criminals need not worry about consequences. At the same time the country has been in a financial crisis and more people are in crisis. We are a service center as the county seat, so it is to be expected that we see more people with issues and in need on our streets.
In response we have aimed the tools we have specifically at the problem.
1. Additional officers in our downtown
2. Additional red hats downtown
3. Loan opportunities for repair
4. A variety of activities and events in our downtown that have drawn hundreds from all over the community.
5. Put an exclusion zone in place
6. Temporarily moved furniture
7. Offered help for financing part of the system to the county over the last two budget cycles that supported reopening jail beds and prosecutors in place
8. Sited additional bathroom facilities
9. Helped develop the Beam project and Lord Lebrick theatre
10. Worked with LCC for a building location in our downtown core
11. Reworked problem areas around the library
12. Opened more housing units in our downtown
13. Worked on parking solutions
We continue to believe that if we fill the buildings and the streets with positive activity, partner with downtown businesses, target public safety carefully and housing, get the pits filled and the empty spaces, we will achieve our goals for a positive, robust downtown.