“The state of our city is one of resurgence,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski as he delivered his 2014 State of the City address today to some 135 members and guests of the Allentown Rotary Club.
Pawlowski told the crowd during a 28 minute speech at the Holiday Inn at 9th & Hamilton streets that over the last eight years the city has faced its challenges and turned them into opportunities.
According to Pawlowski, “Resurgence is defined as bringing something again into activity and prominence and that’s what is occurring in Allentown. We’ve rebuilt our finances by turning a multi-million dollar deficit into a multi-million dollar surplus; used an innovative approach to fully fund our pensions; seen six straight years of crime decreases and over a billion dollars in new investment and development; and in 2014 the citizens of Allentown will be seeing their ninth straight year of no property tax increase.”
Pawlowski also said that the police department, under the leadership of new Chief Joel Fitzgerald, will begin to change the way it does business. It will engage key stakeholders in the establishment of a multi-year Strategic Plan. The Keystone Plan for a Safer Allentown will focus on four points:
1. Proactive and Preventive Policing Initiatives
2. Intelligence Led (Data Driven) Policing (ILP)
3. Community Partnerships
4. Redistribution of Internal Resources
Pawlowski said he will propose creation of new public spaces in 2014, including the city’s first skate park and dog park, a public ice skating rink in the Arts Park and the purchase of land to connect the city’s parks.
Pawlowski also said the city will partner with the Rodale Institute to re-purpose vacant lots and unused open spaces into a network of urban organic farms. Pawlowski said the partnership “will combine Rodale Institute’s experience and know-how in organic farming with the City of Allentown’s land resources transforming our vacant lots into viable, healthy solutions, providing fresh organic produce to families throughout the city at Head Starts, hospitals and schools.”
The Allentown Rotary Club is usually the first in a series of invitations for a mayoral address from service clubs in the city. The state of the city report is a requirement of the city charter.