Mayor McFarlane Delivers State of the City Address
Raleigh’s economy, Dix Park, and affordable housing were major themes in Mayor Nancy McFarlane’s State of the City speech Friday night. She delivered her address at Contemporary Art Museum as part of First Friday activities.
The mayor pointed out that Raleigh’s economy continues to grow. She noted that in 2017, 77 businesses announced new locations or expansions, creating 3,760 new jobs and $13.65 million of investment.
“We issued 132 permits for new commercial construction with associated investments totaling more than $460 million,” Mayor McFarlane said. “The economic impact of tourism was substantial, too. 2016 is the last year we have final numbers for, but Wake County had 15.6 million visitors who generated $2.4 billion in direct spending. By generating $242 million in 2016 tax revenues, those visitors saved each Wake County household $663.”
The mayor said the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, with a budget of $7.1 million, was directly responsible for an economic impact of $140.2 million for Wake County.
On Dix Park, the mayor reminded her audience that the contract for the park’s master plan consultant was finalized and approved by the City Council last July. She said the City is nearing completion of phase one of the master plan process for the sprawling park near Downtown.
“There has been input from thousands of citizens in every form from events in the park, to gathering information at festivals downtown to large format community meetings with opportunities to discuss details with the design team,” Mayor McFarlane said. “This will truly be a park for everyone.”
The mayor also talked about affordable housing, saying it is vital the City work with its many partners to address this issue. “I am looking forward to a summit to be open to the public that all of our partners are working on to be hosted by the Urban Land Institute,” she said. “This will be a great opportunity to hear about what we are doing, what we can and cannot do and how we can partner in new and creative ways to produce more affordable units.”
This month, the City will be committing to projects that total over 1,000 affordable rental units, Mayor McFarlane said. “This is a big issue. We are working hard and dedicating resources to it. When someone says, ‘Raleigh’s not addressing the issue of affordable housing,’ I want you to look at them and say ‘That’s just not true’,” she said. “Do we need to do more? Absolutely. Every growing city in the country is wrestling with this issue. But rest assured, we are focused and dedicated to working to make housing affordable in the City of Raleigh,” the mayor added.
The speech will be re-broadcast on RTN 11 (Channel 97.5 for those without a cable digital box) daily beginning Wednesday, April 11 through Sunday, April 29 at 8:30 a.m., and at other times as follows:
- Tuesday, April 10, at 7 p.m.;
- Thursday, April 12, 19, 26, at noon and 9 p.m.;
- Friday, April 13, 20, 27, at 3 pm., 6 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.;
- Saturday, April 14, 21, 28, at 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 9 p.m.;
- Monday, April 16, 23, 30, at 8:30 a.m., 5 p.m., and 10 p.m.; and,
- Tuesday, April 17 and May 1, at 12:30 p.m.