Mayor McFarlane Delivers State of the City Address
Raleigh’s economy, arts and parks, sustainability, and affordable housing were major themes
Mayor Nancy McFarlane delivered her address at Raleigh Union Station as part of First Friday activities on Nov. 1. The mayor pointed out that Raleigh’s economy is strong and growing. The unemployment rate continues to decrease and is currently at about 3.7 percent.
In 2018, there were 81 new and expanding job announcements, across multiple sectors, representing more than 4,900 jobs and $198 million in investment.
“Raleigh is booming with opportunity. In many ways, Raleigh is the envy of the country,” Mayor McFarlane said. “We are fortunate to not only have three Tier 1 research universities right here in the triangle, but NC State, Wake County Community College, and our other colleges and universities right here in Raleigh produce the kind of talent that employers are looking for. Our town/gown relationship with NC State could not be better, and we are both benefiting from that relationship.”
The mayor also said that Raleigh has one of the greatest park systems in the country, is fiscally stable and secure, and invests significantly in infrastructure and public safety.On affordable housing, the mayor acknowledged that Raleigh, like every growing city in America, is facing the issue of affordability.
“Our 2019 Adopted Budget included $22 million for housing programs. We added close to 1,000 affordable units across the city last year. We have programs that provide assistance with home ownership, neighborhood revitalization, creation and preservation of rental developments, and provide owner occupied loans to help rehabilitate homes to allow owners to stay in their homes.”
The mayor also thanked DHIC and other partners for the work that they did with Washington Terrace, a development that provides much needed affordable housing.
“Not only did they produce an amazing product, but they did it without displacing long-time residents,” Mayor McFarlane said. “And, they built an incredible day care facility, which is operated by the Methodist Home for Children. I cannot stress how important the addition of safe, reliable day care is for hard working parents.”
Another subject the mayor addressed is sustainability. In May the City Council adopted a community-wide goal of an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“Just this week we broke ground on a new Bio-Energy Recovery Facility. We will more efficiently manage waste by-products, and produce more renewable natural gas than is used to produce it, resulting in a reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions and produce enough fuel for up to 50 of our buses, which will be running on compressed natural gas,” said Mayor McFarlane.
The mayor also spoke about the City’s investment in the arts and Dix Park. “Arts define us – they enrich our lives,” said Mayor McFarlane. The economic impact of the arts on the City has grown from $143 million in 2010 to $531 million in 2015.
“We invest in our parks and community centers because they are an important part of who we are,” said Mayor McFarlane. “Just this year we installed wi-fi at 11 community centers and pools, renovated the Walnut Creek Softball Complex, and renovated and reopened Moore Square Park. Recently, we broke ground on improvements at Chavis Park, which will include a two-story community center with full-size gym and indoor track, a splash area and other amenities. We support so many programs from children to seniors and have expanded our summer youth employment program.”
On Dix Park, Mayor McFarlane thanked many people for their vision and for working to implement a master plan “that will guide us for generations to come.”Mayor McFarlane closed her speech by thanking her many supporters. “I am profoundly grateful to the citizens of Raleigh who honored me with the mayor’s job four times and put their confidence in me. I am most appreciative to the city staff, as tireless and dedicated a group of people as I have ever known.”
Read Mayor McFarlane's speech or watch the re-broadcast on RTN 11 (Channel 97.5 for those without a cable digital box) daily from Saturday, Nov. 2 through Friday, Nov. 22 as follows:
- Saturday, November 2, 9, 16, at 12:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.;
- Monday, November 4, 11, 18, at 8:30 a.m., 5 p.m., and 10 p.m.;
- Tuesday, November 5, 12, 19, at 7 pm.;
- Thursday, November 7, 14, 21, at 12 p.m. and 9 p.m.; and
- Friday, November 8, 15, 22, at 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m.
Some of the listed times may be pre-empted by live governmental meeting coverage.