Fayetteville Mayor Ed Johnson delivered his sixth annual State of the City address at the Fayetteville City Council meeting Feb. 17, marking the first time the occasion has been held at the new hotel in city of Fayetteville. The previous five were delivered to the old Town Hall building on South Glynn Street.
Mayor Johnson, in his speech, highlighted the accomplishments of Public Safety, Utilities and other city departments, noting that it all took place against the backdrop of the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. He commended the city’s staff and leadership for overcoming these challenges and making the City of Fayetteville an even more effective and efficient government agency.
Mayor Johnson, now in his second term as mayor, was a member of city council before being elected mayor. He instituted the State of the City Address in 2017 to help the community celebrate the successes of the city of Fayetteville and to give citizens a glimpse of what is to come from the city government’s perspective.
The 2022 State of the City Address was streamed via FacebookLIVE on the City of Fayetteville’s Facebook page, @fayettevillega.gov, and can now be viewed there as a video.
Below is the full text of the mayor’s speech.
Greetings and blessings to all citizens of our wonderful city of Fayetteville, Georgia.
On behalf of the Unified and Progressive City Council and our outstanding city staff and public safety personnel, I am honored to deliver this State of the City Address which we believe will make citizens proud of having been accomplished. over the past year, despite the presence of the Covid pandemic.
This is my fifth annual State of the City address, and it’s the very first for our new Fayetteville City Hall, making it a very special occasion.
A year ago, my State of the City Address included construction progress and updates on our new City Hall and Downtown Park project, and now you can find them by yourself.
Another ingredient of the city’s success is the investment we make in our government employees.
I would like to publicly thank all City staff who have worked tirelessly and kept the City running at peak performance, even when they have had to work remotely due to the coronavirus.
Our City Manager Ray Gibson and his leadership team continue to provide our staff with the training and tools they need to accomplish the city’s strategic priorities.
All of this will be reflected in the release of our 2022 strategic plan, which we are working to complete in the coming months.
The updated strategic plan will include updated core values and revised strategic priorities based on the collaborations we have had with city leaders, staff and the community.
Public safety continues to be priority 1!
Your Fayetteville Police Department is, and always will be, “community focused” not only in enforcing the law, but most importantly in building trust in the citizens they are there to protect and serve.
Our police department was successful in 2021 in obtaining continuing state accreditation from the Georgia Association of Chiefs Of Police.
The Public Security also seeks national CALEA approval. We intend to hire a diverse and highly skilled police force that represents “the best of the best” in law enforcement, with ongoing advanced de-escalation and awareness training and tactics to mental health.
In 2021, our police department implemented the use of the new Bolawrap non-lethal restraint devices which can be used to defuse potentially dangerous situations faced by our police officers and the general public.
Our fire department had a successful year in 2021 as they completed a head office expansion project while continuing to plan for the establishment of a permanent fire hall on the west side of town.
Fire Chief Alan Jones retired after 33 years of dedicated service to our fire department and was promoted to Assistant City Manager, allowing us to retain and utilize his knowledge of past operations of the city.
Deputy Fire Chief Linda Black has been promoted to Fire Chief and will lead our outstanding fire department into the future.
Other city departments also continue to earn accolades and recognition for their outstanding performance and achievement.
The City of Fayetteville was honored this year with the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 2021 Regional Achievement Award for “Livable Center.”
The city won the award for Fayetteville’s new downtown city hall and park, which represents a key investment in the revitalization of the city’s downtown district.
Our customer service staff in all departments continue to operate at the highest level, ensuring that all interactions with customers are professional, prompt and courteous.
Additionally, our Public Works staff continually go above and beyond to ensure the city is safe and aesthetically pleasing.
Our city’s finance department continues to receive awards and recognition from external organizations for its best practices in financial accountability and reporting.
We continue to be fiscally responsible, as evidenced by our Citizen Budget Committee which participates in the annual budget development and review processes.
Our downtown revitalization efforts have resulted in private sector investment, and success can be seen in Triumph Station’s event venues and retail stores, which opened last fall at the east end. from City Center Park.
You can see even greater accomplishments on the south side of the park as the multi-use development of Walton Communities rises from the ground. When completed, it will further enhance the vibrancy of the downtown core and further stimulate economic growth in the downtown core and throughout the city.
The city is growing, but we are committed to ensuring quality and controlled growth.
We continue to oversee quality growth on the south side of town at the Fayette Meadows residential development and on the north side at the Satterfield mixed-use development along Highway 85. The east side of Fayetteville remains primarily residential in nature, but we we are seeing improvements along the Highway 54 West Corridor as well.
We can’t forget all the exciting new developments taking place on the west side at Trilith Studios and in the town adjacent to the multi-use Trilith development.
This unique new urban development continues to be recognized nationally.
As mentioned, safety is a high priority in the city, and to add to that, the Georgia Department of Transportation is making several road safety improvements at key intersections within the city limits.
In addition, the city continues to study areas with high accident rates to improve the level of safety.
2022 is the year we will begin making significant safety and aesthetic improvements to the busy alley behind our downtown businesses in Courthouse Square.
This part of our downtown historic district has been the heart and soul of Fayetteville for many years and we want to do what we can to preserve it and bring people back to downtown as a place of destination.
We will continue to explore the feasibility of new pathway and trail systems to better connect our neighborhoods, schools and parks.
All of this adds to the quality of life we enjoy in Fayetteville. Citizen engagement, contribution and activism are essential to our understanding of what citizens want and need to make them proud of our community.
We are hosting a second annual Homeowners Association (HOA) Boot Camp in 2021 with the goal of staying in touch and helping Fayetteville HOA members and leaders connect with each other, as well only with city staff and elected officials.
These meetings have become so popular that there is now a demand for them to be held more frequently, so this year we are introducing the first-ever series of HOA roundtable events. Similar to our HOA boot camps, these roundtable events will provide more opportunities for open communication, problem solving, and future planning.
The first event of 2022 takes place this Saturday morning February 19 at 10:00 a.m., you can find out more at www.fayetteville-ga.gov/hoa.
We are excited about the development and near completion of our new and improved website with its social engagement center and many other features that will help residents, businesses, organizations and guests better connect with the government of the city of Fayetteville and between them. The new website will be a virtual representation of our new Town Hall and we think you will love it.
We plan to launch this new website in March, so be sure to keep an eye out for it.
In 2021, we completed the redesign of our wastewater treatment plant, making it more technologically advanced and efficient. This will allow the plant to be operated with state-of-the-art processing.
Although the Covid pandemic has limited many city-sponsored activities and events in 2021, we have begun planning several community events and activities to bring the community together.
The 2021 Annual Christmas Parade was well planned and executed and well attended by citizens, in large part because we had an even bigger festival atmosphere with our Miracle on Mainstreet event in the new City Park.
Again, ladies and gentlemen and fellow citizens of Fayetteville, despite the challenges in the presence of the Covid pandemic, what we have accomplished as a community in 2021 is exceptional.
As we hopefully emerge from the pandemic, economic difficulties and instability, we will strive to show even greater leadership and responsibility in 2022.
Thank you for your attention and support and we hope that by working together, the future of our city will be even more successful. Good evening and God bless us all and our beloved city.
Ed Johnson, Mayor
State of the City Address to City Council, February 17, 2022
City of Fayetteville, Ga.