(EDITOR’S NOTE: A complete look at Mayor Joe Thallemer’s plans for Warsaw can be seen HERE)
“One of the statutory responsibilities of the mayor is to give a State of the City address every year and, I think in the past that has been done rather informally,” said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer. “I thought it was important to come back to the council and talk a little bit about what we accomplished in 2012 and what we want to try to accomplish in 2013.”
During Monday night’s Common Council meeting, Thallemer presented a PowerPoint presentation outlining six different areas where progress was realized and where goals for 2013 and beyond are being addressed. He opened his address noting the importance of collaborations with agencies and organizations at both the local and state level and credited those relationships for laying the groundwork for continued growth and development.
In 2012, Thallemer noted the city was successful in a number of things including the completion of the Warsaw+Winona Bike+Walk Master Plan and the new city hall building, in expanding the Northern Tax Increment Finance District, approving the certified technology park with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and in annexing 110 acres of land for commercial or industrial development.
This year, the mayor hopes to develop a new comprehensive plan for the city and to work toward meeting the requirements of a Stellar Community status. Stellar Communites utilize collaborative government partnerships to leverage state and federal funding for large-scale comprehensive community revitalization projects.
Among the projects on the table for 2013 is a charrette (an intensive planning session) with the Ball State University School of Architecture and Planning. The group of students and skilled planners will be studying the Gatke building and Little Crow properties and holding a four-day public input session on ideas for those areas.
A charrette will also be held for North Buffalo Street and the old Indiana American Water pumping plant. The idea is to create a better connection from the downtown area to Center Lake Park via North Buffalo Street.
“I think 2012 was a pretty amazing year with the city’s commitment to the downtown and throwing in the bike master plan really topped it off,” said Thallemer in recapping his first year in office.
As for 2013, he said the city has a goal to complete the downtown parking study and come up with recommendations on how to resolve issues. “You’ll be hearing a lot on this in public meetings as it goes through committees,” he added.
This year the city is also opening an office in the new city hall for the Warsaw Police Department, First Friday events are becoming bigger and more popular, the Kosciusko County Farmers Market is growing and even looking to expand, and the new plaza at city hall is being looked at for even more events to draw people to downtown Warsaw.
Site plan development for Station 3 of the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory is on the table for this year, as is continued support of bringing Amtrack service back to town. Capital improvements at the Warsaw Municipal Airport will also continue with the lowering of power lines east of the airport to accommodate air traffic.
Neighborhood revitalization is another area Mayor Thallemer will examine more closely in 2013 as he moves forward with the Stellar Community initiative.
Thallemer ended his address crediting the department heads for accomplishments completed and goals being worked on. “They have all done a great job and I’ve been keeping them busy,” he concluded.
Councilman Jeff Grose gave the mayor accolades for his “leadership efforts” and added, “I really appreciate everything you’re trying to do for our community.”
Councilwoman Elaine Call added, “Joe, when you were elected you met with each of us on the council and we said we wanted a vision for the future. You brought out that far out planning approach with this presentation and I really appreciate that.”