The community accomplished many things in 2019 because Pacific residents and supporters worked toward shared goals, Pacific Mayor Steve Myers said during his Jan. 28 “State of the City Address” to 48 area Pacific Chamber members.
Among a long list of accomplishments, Myers highlighted the 8.4 percent increase in sales taxes, marking a second straight year of growth; enhanced overall city appeal to residents, employers, developers and potential company relocators; accelerated economic growth; better support for local first responders; and ensuring the city’s future through deliberate financial, security and parks planning steps.
“We’re working hard in a variety of ways to improve the image of our community, to become a more inviting place for businesses interested in this market, and to attract prospective residents to move here,” he stated during the presentation given at The Opera House in Pacific.
Myers saluted the new Beautification Committee, comprised of local volunteers.
“We are youth friendly, and we are there for them,” declared Myers, citing support of Scouts and school groups.
The mayor also said he had a fun, global-oriented opportunity to help verify Robertsville resident Sandy Jones Feller’s application to the Guinness World Records for having the world’s largest, individual brooch collection, which totaled 4,776.
“As a great example of what’s possible when the city and Chamber work together, we entered a parade float in the Franklin County’s Bicentennial Parade — and won first place out of 68 entries,” he said.
Myers also put the spotlight on other positive accomplishments, including the new Liberty Field park enhancements, street improvements, storm drainage resolutions, a new trash and recycling collection vendor, city park roof replacements, new city heavy equipment, removal of derelict properties, purchasing of flood buyout parcels, securing a $1.1 million federal grant to widen a section of Highway N, and a pool facility audit.
“We did an across-the-board 2.5 percent pay increase for all city employees, and adjusted entry jobs up to levels that are much more attractive,” he said.
The mayor said he was proud of finalizing plans for the former Red Cedar Inn building to become a Route 66 Visitor Center, Pacific museum, genealogy research center and gift shop.
Myers said the house on the corner of First and Osage was purchased by the city so the turning radius of that intersection can be adjusted to increase public safety.
Regarding economic growth, the mayor pointed to the annexation of the NB West new world headquarters as a prime example. He also said Pacific-headquartered ADB had added 800 new high-paying jobs to the local region, and that the company’s managers already were adding more land to their site.
“The new Insulite Glass Building owners at the Route 66 Business Park are talking about expansion, too,” he added.
Another new 30,000-square-foot development also is being erected at the Route 66 Business Park.
Myers also spotlighted the renovation of a previous home at 415 W. St. Louis St. into a special events center by event planner Designs of Ambiance.
The mayor said 51 homes are going to be built in the new Bend Ridge subdivision, along with TriStar Properties developer establishing another new subdivision for 15 homes off of Old Gray Summit Road. TriStar owner Thomas Douglass also recently purchased the Community School building in Pacific.
Regarding first responders, Myers emphasized major drug busts made possible by the city’s police officers and K-9 officer Vito.
He said the pay scale for the police department was increased to better match police wages of neighboring cities.
With a lease from First State Bank, local officers purchased two police F-150 trucks. New communications equipment also was bought for dispatch efficiency.
Passage of Prop S, a half-cent tax for streets, passed by 72 percent of voters. Myers said it generated $450,000 new annual funding for street maintenance programs.
Passage of Prop P, a half-cent tax for parks and storm drains, was supported by 75 percent of voters. It also yielded $450,000 for parks and storm drain upgrades.
Myers said $1 million of federal disaster funding from the flood of 2015 was used to complete a new wastewater lagoon and aeration system.
Lastly, Myers illuminated that the city had hired the award-winning firm Planning Design Studios to guide the community through the master planning process for improving the city’s green spaces.
“When we said, ‘ensure our future,’ we’ve been focused on what action will best lead us 10 to 15 years down the road,” said Myers.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of two news articles about this presentation.