Lincoln Mayor delivers State of the City address

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[February 03, 2016]  LINCOLN - On Monday evening, the Lincoln City Council met for its first voting session of February. At the beginning of the meeting, during the public participation session, Mayor Marty Neitzel delivered a State of the City address.

Mayor Neitzel began by reviewing the changes in the council and mayoral positions in the calendar year 2015. She recalled the resignation of former Mayor Keith Snyder; the appointment of an interim, then the appointment and unexpected loss of Mayor Scott Cooper. She concluded with the review of her appointment as an interim for the second time in the year, and finally her official appointment as Mayor.

Neitzel reminded the council that it had been a year of change in the aldermanic seats as well, with one and two seats being vacant during the larger portion of the year. She concluded that at the end of 2015, both the seat left vacant by Scott Cooper in Ward 1, and her seat as Ward 4 alderman had been filled with Tracy Welch and Rick Hoefle, respectively.

Talking about the inaugural meetings in 2015 for the development and maintenance of a strategic plan for the city, she noted one common topic had been the need for more open and forthcoming information to the public from city government.

She noted that the city had developed a site plan review that incorporated all the city department heads at once for the review of a potential development, and that it was proving to be an asset to the city and potential developers.

She noted the work that the city had done jointly with Logan County officials to complete the 2017 application for a new Enterprise Zone.

Neitzel complemented City Administrator Clay Johnson for his creativity and insight in creating a newsletter for the city to be mailed out with monthly sewer bills. Neitzel noted that because the bills go out to one-third of the population each month, there are some delays in constituents receiving the newsletter. However, she said copies are also available at city hall, as well as through the city’s website.

She noted that the city has a very good website with a good deal of information for constituents, and she encouraged everyone to visit the website on a regular basis.

Speaking about growth in the city, Neitzel reviewed the new businesses and new construction that took place or began in 2015. She named the Lincoln Grand 8 Theater, the opening of the Spirited Republic, Deep Roots Café, Christine Short’s Edward Jones office, Central Illinois Insurance with Steve Shoemaker. She also mentioned that The Christian Village/Christian Homes began a new construction project, and Copper Creek Village also began construction in 2015.

She also announced that Casey’s General Store will be building a new gas station/convenience store in 2016 at the intersection of Woodlawn Road and Lincoln Parkway. The construction will be on the northeast corner of the intersection.

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Site plans for the Lincoln Depot are 30 percent complete. The new street department site plans are 90 percent complete, and Neitzel is hopeful that the city will move forward with construction in 2016.

The re-designed city parking lot most often referred to as the Library Parking Lot at the corner of Pekin and Kickapoo Streets is still pending. Land acquisition projects are still underway for the Fifth Street Road project.

Neitzel concluded her address by offering a ‘thank you’ to the city council, “I want to thank the city council for appointing me Mayor of Lincoln. It is an honor. My goal is to work together for a better Lincoln."

Following the address of the Mayor, Logan County Board Chairman David Hepler stood to be recognized. He began by saying he had come expressly to hear the address by Neitzel and was glad that he had. He commented that the city council and department heads had difficult tasks before them, but they are addressing the tasks and making progress for which they should be proud.

Hepler concluded by expressing appreciation for the collaborative efforts between the city and county. He noted the usefulness of the joint meetings of the two governing bodies. In closing, he said, “I’ve had the privilege to watch a lot of the small meetings that occur that are very significant, with law enforcement, zoning, highway/street and alley, Mr. Johnson, and other people on the county side. The result is that the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. With that, on behalf of the county board I thank you for the collaboration and the spirit of collaboration and look forward to keeping it going.”

When Hepler finished, Neitzel thanked Hepler for his comments, then moved on to the next items on the agenda.

[Nila Smith]

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