There’s an old adage that goes something like, “time flies when you’re having fun,” and like most people, when we flipped the calendar to January a rather unsettling sensation occurred, along with the thought, “where did the year go?” It is fun to look back on the days and months of progress, and always a pleasure to gather these highlights of success and share them with you.
We look back on 2018 as a year of positive change and continued growth; we remain focused on our commitment to improving the city’s physical and economic infrastructure. After much planning and hard work, 2018 proved that creating a vision, establishing goals and then focusing on implementation made for a year of solid growth, as evidenced by the opening of Memorial Health’s and Navistar’s new facilities; the opening of Urbana City School’s new Pre K-8 and High School buildings and re-establishing a School Resource Officer (SRO) within the district. It’s refreshing to see the collaborative efforts of our community’s families, businesses, non-profits, schools, churches and governments successfully bring about the improvements we all want and need. After all, this is OUR community and when everyone pulls together, the opportunities are endless.
Throughout the year, a significant amount of progress was made by every division within the City’s organization in maintaining critical day-to-day operations, managing special projects and laying the foundation for future plans. Each division of the City, in collaboration with the CEP, contributed to our efforts in expanding economic development; pursuing available funding opportunities; and prudently addressing deferred maintenance issues of our facilities and infrastructure, demonstrating that we all take great pride in serving the citizens of Urbana and it shows in what we do.
Urbana, like the majority of municipalities across the United States, cannot operate like the days of old, but rather we must look for opportunities to maintain value-added service levels within the confines of a relatively flat budget. Key to our efforts to maintain a sound level of service is a continued focus on challenging the norm and applying the “prudent man” philosophy by re-evaluating “what we do” and “why we do it.” While there may be arguments on both sides, the fact remains that no organization can successfully serve its customers if revenues don’t keep pace with expenses; our number one objective is serving the community in the best possible manner.
A summary (located at https://bit.ly/2DXiso1 ) provides you with an overview of a few of the City’s accomplishments, which were made possible through the efforts of our dedicated and professional staff members, elected officials and volunteer members of various City boards and commissions. Our Division Heads, through a culmination of information gathering and many hours of editing share a résumé of key events and highlights from their respective divisions, which we hope you find informative, but most importantly it is a reflection of our commitment to the community.
Remember, vibrant communities aren’t created by accident, but rather they are built through a concerted effort of engaged stakeholders. The city is at a critical juncture with major initiatives focusing on revitalizing our community, as reflected in our 2019 plan, including finalizing the redevelopment of the former Q3 JMC, Inc. brownfield property on Miami St., the reconstruction of the Roundabout (in collaboration with ODOT) encompassing one block each direction from Monument Square, and the groundbreaking for the new hotel near the intersection of U.S. Rte. 68 and St. Rte. 55. We look forward to an exciting year ahead as these new projects and initiatives are rolled out. Serving the Urbana community continues to be an honor and a pleasure.
Bill Bean is the Mayor of Urbana and Kerry Brugger is Director of Administration