By: WROYWRUL News
(Carmi)-Carmi Mayor Jeff Pollard says the success of the community relies on everyone working together. He told Chamber members in his State of the City address about efforts to create jobs, establish new ordinances, and grow business. The work to transform Carmi began with the city itself.
“Since May we’ve been working very hard to continue with projects in the public’s eye along with internal issues. We have been working on cutting overtime back. We have hired a new safety director to get all departments in compliance with state laws and regulations. We are also cross training employees for multitasking to be prepared for future job replacement, retirements, and less part-time help.”
Pollard said he was proud of the city employees’ hard work and the changes they’ve had to endure. He added the new city council has been able to work together effectively.
The mayor listed a number of finished, ongoing, and future city projects.
A headworks project at the Waste Water Treatment Plant finished up most of the water and sewer bond issue. Two homes have been renovated through a Greater Wabash Regional Planning Commission housing grant. Two additional houses on 2nd Street are scheduled to be upgraded.
“The FAU (Federal Aid Urban) project has been submitted to D.O.T. to resurface Burrell Street and add curbing and sidewalks. The Industrial Park project is on track to begin in the spring. A ditch by Dairy Queen was a D.O.T. project using motor fuel tax funds to eliminate flooding in that area.”
“The airport…we’ve completed the water line project, allowing the city to furnish water to Browns (Feed and Chemical) and any other future growth in that area. The new fuel tanks are complete.”
In the parks department, the city is still waiting to hear back on a grant for playground equipment at Eckerle Park. The mayor hopes to build a new concession stand at the pool sometime in the near future. The city has purchased new playground equipment for Burrell’s Campground. They are also working to secure a few handicap accessible swings.
The FEMA flood buyout is in the final stage. The city hopes demolition will begin on those properties in the spring.
“And even though Woolsey (Energy) choose Fairfield to locate their field office, we still have a lot of other businesses interested in the 11 acres. The theater building is back in ownership of the city. We have been talking with a possible buyer to reopen as a movie theater. I still have hopes for the hospital to reopen. I believe that it is one major key for bringing industry into our community.”
The city’s website has gotten a facelift in the past few months. Pollard hopes the new portal will help attract residents and businesses to the city.
He did challenge Chamber members to work with new business owners in renting space.
“I know, right now, we have storefronts available that Sandra (Irvine) and I are working very hard to fill. But the bottom line is most people starting out in business cannot afford the high rent. I would encourage property owners to take this into consideration…work out a plan to allow them to get their feet on the ground and then raise the rent accordingly.”
Pollard closed by noting the city is a business and should be run accordingly. He says the council and other employees are developing a game plan to improve the city’s future.