Mayor Marsh gives annual State of the City Address
I’m honored to be sharing the 2022 State of the City address with you from within our renovated City Hall. Many changes and improvements have happened not just within this building, but in our city as well. Our team at the City of Greensburg has worked tirelessly to improve and grow our community, despite the difficulties that have come in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic. I am excited to come before you today to share a few of the many accomplishments of our city over the last year, and share that the State of the City is strong. As our community has continued to recover from the frustrations and obstacles over the last two years from the pandemic, we have reached the point where vaccines are widely available to adults and children. Businesses and schools are open, and we continue to move forward.
By moving forward, we can also state that the financial state of the city very strong. We stayed on budget, and ended 2021 in the green. We also saw a change in leadership in the City Clerk’s Office upon the early retirement of former Clerk Brenda Dwenger. After a caucus, our new City Clerk Treasurer, Amy Borns, joined the city in June of last year. Under her leadership, we continue to be good stewards of funds and her office has worked diligently to digitize and modernize the Clerk’s Office, allowing us to make sure that our departments continue to work together and make sure the city is running full steam ahead towards progress. With strong finances from 2020 and 2021, and well-planned investments for 2022 and beyond, all of our departments can focus on providing the best service possible.
We also saw changes in our public safety- adding and promoting more officers and firefighters to the Greensburg Police Department and Fire Department, new equipment and emergency vehicles, updated technology, and the retirement of our former Police Chief, Brendan Bridges. Officer Bridges served GPD for 20 years, and the last seven as chief. We are grateful for his service, and we’re happy to see him continue to serve the community in a prevention and education role within our school system. Upon his retirement, I appointed then Assistant Chief Mike McNealy to chief. Chief McNealy has served GPD for many years in different capacities and now leads our department into the next phase of retention and growth. Continuing education and training is extremely important for our first responders. Officers with the Greensburg Police Department hosted and instructed 141 training courses, led 644 hours of instruction by GPD certified trainers, and logged more than 4,000 hours of training. Our firefighters with Greensburg Fire held an innovative and immersive training day for our elected and appointed officials to share what a firefighter experiences in training and while on a call. Our public safety agencies also updated protocols to assist Decatur County EMS, completed strategic plans, and continue to implement our Public Safety Community Cookouts. Greensburg’s utility infrastructure, which is something that our residents may not see every day, continues to undergo upgrades and provides necessary services to our residents and industries.
Our Utility Office has worked towards making paying your water bill easier and convenient, including the new drive-through window at City Hall. Residents can now pull through, just like a bank, and pay their water bill securely from their vehicle. Our new water plant, completed in March of 2021, was brought online and increased our capacity and water quality. Even despite a water main break in the summer of 2021, our Water Plant employees and contractors worked quickly to identify and rectify the issue in a timely fashion. Our Wastewater Plant saw the retirement of Superintendent Jeff Smith, who served the Wastewater plant for 24 years. We’re grateful for his commitment to the city, and welcomed new superintendent Zeke Smith at the end of 2021. Wastewater has reduced chemical usage, improving our environment, has replaced necessary equipment and performed new disinfection studies.
Just like our water infrastructure, our road infrastructure continues to undergo major changes. 2021 saw the completion of Veterans Way, a city project that has been under construction since 2009. Veterans Way connects State Road 3 to US Highway 421, bridging two large travel corridors to create a new area for business and residential development. As you drive Veterans Way, you may notice that development is starting to take place, including businesses and a new residential project. The City was awarded $1.2 million in funding for continued pavement improvements on city streets, and removed old sidewalks to make way for new ADA accessible curb ramps. The City also worked in collaboration with Decatur County to replace the Washington Street bridge over Gas Creek, a much needed improvement project. Our Building, Planning, Zoning and Engineering worked throughout the year on updating our comprehensive plan to guide the community for the next five to 10 years. These departments also lead the conversation on updating zoning ordinances, traffic control and provided oversight and help to developers in the community. The addition of updated software provides for ease of use in management of permits and inspections.
I am grateful that every day I get to serve alongside of our teams from all departments. Without their efforts to make sure each area fires on all cylinders, our community would look and feel a little different. Thank you to all our team for the tireless service to our community. Outside of the department success, we continue to build relationships and work to achieve greater results by partnering with others. Park Road was submitted, in partnership with Decatur County Commissioners, to the state for major improvements that would include a multi-use path and lighting to provide residents with a safe connector to downtown Greensburg. The city has continued to work on Pirate Park, a new community green space and soccer complex to be located by Greensburg Community High School and Rebekah Park. Our goal is to make Pirate Park a regional destination for tournaments to bring visitors and tourism to our community. Not only do we have Pirate Park to add to our tourism check list, but we also have the planned addition of the Inclusion Park. The Inclusion Park is a necessary part of our city, as it gives those with intellectual and physical disabilities the space to come together and interact with folks from across our community. The City of Greensburg is proud to sponsor these park projects and look forward to their completion.
2021 brought changes to our city’s infrastructure, including major changes in City Hall. At the beginning of 2021, City Hall moved over to Ireland street as the renovation process began. Since the initial renovation to the building over 15 years ago, City Hall had not seen any major upgrades. The HVAC system, along with other mechanical systems, have not been updated since the 1990s. Renovations made to City Hall include a new HVAC system, roof, addition of a fire suppression system, plumbing, Utility payment drive through and IT infrastructure. The most visible change that residents and visitors now notice when entering City Hall will be the front entrance and lobby area. It has been completely reconfigured to have two new reception desks and security, with a new conference room and waiting area. We were also able to update the Clerk, Water, and Building offices to a new booking software to improve customer and vendor experiences- making experiences and interactions with booking efficient. We welcomed the public into City Hall for an Open House in September of 2021. We are very excited to be back in our building- and we are proud to be able to reflect Greensburg in City Hall.
For 2022, the completion of our projects from 2021 displays what can be accomplished when our team at the city not only works together internally, but externally with our regional and State partners. We can see that in our participation in the MakeMyMove incentive program, the Accelerate Rural Indiana regional application for READI grant funds that will bring $20 million to our region for improvements, and in our upcoming record setting investment to make necessary improvements to the North Park area of Greensburg. I remain committed to helping our public safety teams connect with members of our community, improving our infrastructure, working to better the quality of life through community investments and make sure that the work being done by all of our departments are shared. I encourage you connect with the city on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Our community has a big heart and has the ability to lift each other up when we need it. For that, I am fortunate to have had your faith and confidence through the last year and look forward to a bright 2022. Together, as a community, we have accomplished many great things. Our team at the City of Greensburg is excited to continue serving the community and working with you, our residents, to keep Greensburg growing. We have made incredible bounds forward in 2021, and we will continue to progress in 2022.