"State of the City" Served Up; Local Economy on the Menu - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

"State of the City" Served Up; Local Economy on the Menu

By Lindsay Cohen email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) -- The breakfast included pastries and fruit, potatoes and bacon, orange juice and coffee; but tops on the menu was talk of the city of West Palm Beach's future -- especially economically.

While the city will be focused on improving financial conditions, other projects will help bring new green initiatives to the area, said Mayor Lois Frankel, in her annual "state of the city" address.

"Working together, sustainability can become a way of life for all of us," the mayor said, announcing a new Office of Sustainability and a first ever sustainability summit on February 25th. Frankel said she hopes this will help create a blueprint for green projects in ecological, social and economic contexts.

Financially, Palm Beach County has lost nearly 5,000 construction-related jobs, the mayor said, and so the city will work to create nearly 1,000 new jobs by advancing 110 capital improvement projects, valued at about $126 million dollars. The end goal is to pump $228 million into the local economy.

The mayor says the city will approach this by fixing roads, building new fire stations, improving parks, and more, including making major upgrades at the city's 100 year-old water plant.

The mayor also highlighted a 47 percent drop in the city's crime rate in the past two years.

"Four years ago, a typical weekend night on Clematis ended with fights and shootings. It was like the wild west," the mayor said. "So we kicked into high gear and implemented new strategies. Some were controversial, like expanding curfews and banning minors from entering clubs that served alcohol."

"Today there are no more roving groups of teens and drunken brawls to scare our families away," Frankel added.

"This has been quite a year in the city and in the world around us," the mayor said in wrapping up. "It remains difficult for many, but we are a vibrant city with great potential."

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