(Wednesday, January 14, 2009) Even with the troubling economic times facing our area, City of West Palm Beach Mayor Lois J. Frankel had plenty of good news in her annual State of the City address. Mayor Frankel highlighted a major drop in crime, announced a new Sustainability Summit and spelled out plans to help stimulate the local economy. Using the theme “Working Together,” the Mayor stressed the importance of alliances among the private, public and non-profit sectors of our community in order to sustain a good quality of life here in South Florida.
“Without a doubt, it will take all of us working harder, willing to sacrifice where necessary, and most importantly working together in order to keep our City moving forward,” said Mayor Frankel.
The Mayor praised Police Chief Delsa Bush for helping orchestrate an unprecedented decrease in crime. In the past year, crime has dropped 19% City-wide in West Palm Beach. In downtown West Palm Beach, including Clematis Street, crime is down 47% compared to 2006. Overall, the crime rate is down a stunning 60% compared to ten years ago. The drop in crime is documented by Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics.
Mayor Frankel also made several major announcements concerning the City’s green efforts, including the creation of a City Office of Sustainability and the hosting of a community Sustainability Summit on February 25, 2009. The summit will help the City create a blueprint for sustainability.
In order to help offset the loss of 5,000 construction jobs in Palm Beach County, the Mayor detailed the City’s aggressive plan to accelerate capital projects. The 110 capital improvement projects, valued at approximately $125 million, will create more than 1,000 jobs without raising or creating new taxes.
Mayor Frankel also praised the accomplishments of the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency, which has been instrumental in the success of Pleasant City, Northwood Village, the new City Center and public library and the downtown waterfront revitalization.
The Chamber of the Commerce hosts the annual address, which is attended by approximately 1,000 people and is sponsored by Grand Bank & Trust of Florida. The address will be replayed in its entirety on West Palm TV (Comcast Channel 18) and is available for online viewing at wpb.org.