Little Falls Mayor Robert Peters said Tuesday during his annual State of the City address that his community remains vibrant and robust in spite of economic challenges.
“Although many residents and businesses in our state and nation have been greatly impacted by our struggling economy, our community remains on a slow, but steady course toward better and brighter days,” Peters said to an overflow audience in the Common Council chambers at City Hall.
He said the strength of the community comes from the people who serve it, including its board members, department supervisors, police officers, firefighters, Department of Public Works laborers, office staff and volunteers who “have, and continue to, provide exceptional professionalism.”
“We should also recognize there is much hard work, dedication and success that often is unnoticed. On a daily basis, our employees and volunteers put forth amazing effort to make Little Falls safe, prosperous and a great place to live, work and do businesses,” said Peters.
Among the past year’s accomplishments the mayor pointed to the receipt of a $245,000 grant by the city’s Urban Renewal Agency for a building and facade improvement program in the downtown business district; the relocation of Stewart’s to a newly constructed facility at the corner of North Ann and West Lansing streets; Little Falls Hospital’s and Bassett Healthcare Network’s continued expansion and increase in services to not only the city of Little Falls, but to surrounding communities as well; the relocation of Day, Scarafile and Read and H&R Block to the former Pizza Hut building at the corner of West Main Street and Hansen Avenue; the repair of the City Hall roof as well as the application of grants for boiler replacement and repairs to the Common Council chambers; the construction of a rest area at the Hole No. 5 green at the Little Falls Municipal Golf Course; the use of $119,699.81 in CHIPS moneys to rehabilitate portions of William, Ward, Smith and Furnace streets and the passage of a local law to prevent hydraulic fracturing within the city of Little Falls.
He also said the municipal solid waste and recycling program continues to be one of the city’s most rewarding accomplishments, as it has allowed the city to provide a valuable service while being highly cost effective, and ongoing forest management practices have enhanced the sustainability of the city’s forest resources. He said the program has made it possible to selectively harvest timber while maintaining environmental stewardship and generating income for the water department budget.
Specifically addressing Shoppers Square, Peters said the Oxford Realty Group is in the process of relocating businesses from the western end of the building to the eastern end.
“After the demolition of the center and western portions of the building, the Price Chopper grocery chain will begin construction on the west end of the site, with an opening in the fall or early spring. This welcome addition to downtown will hopefully draw additional businesses to Main Street,” he said.
Page 2 of 2 - Looking forward to 2013, the mayor said the incinerator decommissioning project at the wastewater treatment plant, which included the addition of a sludge loading bay and a retrofitting of the conveyor system, is almost complete and will provide considerable savings to the city; the ornamental railings and blacktop of the roadway for the South Ann Street bridge project will be completed in early spring; the state Department of Transportation will complete the Little Falls portion of the Erie Canalway Trail this year; the construction of a new handicapped accessible elevator at Rockton Plaza, financed with federal funding, will begin in the spring and a portion of the waterfront grant moneys will be used to add slips for small boats and a fueling station at Rotary Park.
He also said he looks forward to another successful season for the DiamondDawgs baseball team.
“Although the national economy continues to struggle, the city of Little Falls is turning the corner and the success we have experienced is the result of the effort of the many people who care deeply about our city. Our quality of life is reflected by the commitment of our residents,” said Peters.
“I firmly believe that our best days lie ahead. I ask that each of you join with me, and this council, in making Little Falls even better than it is today,” he added.