Mayor Swearengin’s State of the City Address Touts Solving Problems, Inspiring Hope for Fresno’s Future

FRESNO, CA – Mayor Swearengin addressed almost eight hundred attendees, including elected officials as well as business and community leaders, during Wednesday’s State of the City address held in downtown Fresno at the New Exhibit Hall. The annual event, sponsored by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, kicked off with musical selections performed by the Fresno County Youth Choir.

Judy Rodgers, executive director with United One Productions, was honored as this year’s CHAMPION (Companies Helping Achieve Meaningful Progress in our Neighborhoods) Award recipient for her excellence and community service with the Mary Ella Brown Community Center. Long time neighborhood activist Roselyn Clark was awarded the Key to the City for her many years of work with Neighborhood Watch.

Mayor Swearengin reflected on the City’s accomplishments over the past year and presented her vision for Fresno’s future. She noted that Fresno is emerging from the recession as vibrant city that is solving its problems, growing its business, and inspiring new hope for the future by 1) preparing for tomorrow with the City’s finances, water and land, 2) growing the City’s industrial employment base to lower unemployment and improve income levels, and 3) making it attractive to preserve and invest in older neighborhoods, including downtown.

“It was an honor to present the many accomplishments that our city employees have worked so hard to achieve over the past year. Their effort, their talent and their sacrifice during the tough times have put us in a strong position to start enjoying the good times sooner than anyone expected,” said Mayor Swearengin. “In my speech, I quoted the legendary football coach, Woody Hayes, who wrote a leadership book titled, ‘You Win With People.’ That’s certainly been my experience here with the City of Fresno, from the valor of our first responders to the efficiency of the City Attorney’s office. Thank you all for everything you’ve done to make our city a great place to live, to work, to create, and to innovate.”

A number of recently appointed department directors were introduced including Fire Chief Kerri Donis, Director of Development and Resource Management Department Jennifer Clark, Director of Public Works Scott Mozier, PARCS Director Manuel Mollinedo, Director of Transportation Brian Marshall, and Director of Public Utilities Thomas Esqueda.

Mayor Swearengin’s reflection on the City’s accomplishments over the past year included:

  • The launch of Business Friendly Fresno;
  • The adoption of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan;
  • The upcoming release of the 2035 Draft General Plan assembled with feedback from thousands of local residents, businesses, and property owners and City officials over the past five years;
  • Approval of the Enhanced Economic Development Plan for high unemployment counties in Northern California by the California Public Utilities Commission;
  • Neighborhood revitalization efforts with the support of the Building Neighborhoods Capacity Program (BNCP);
  • Fresno City Council’s vote to return two-way traffic to the Fulton Mall and restore the art and fountains;
  • Fresno’s invitation from the White House to join the 25 Cities Initiative to end homelessness for veterans by 2015.

Video of the Mayor’s “State of the City” address will soon be available on the City’s website as well as a transcript of her remarks.