Mayor Summers: It’s All About Safety, Housing and Development
In his second address in two months, Summers lays out city’s focus at Lakewood Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.
In last month’s State of the City Address, Mayor Michael Summers laid out some of the city’s priorities and challenges.
Safety, housing and development.
“Experience counts,” Summer said. “I’ve learned a whole more since I came here last year.”
He started out the address by discussing the shifting demographics of Lakewood. The community, he pointed out, is younger and more diverse.
And following the national trend, there’s also more poor people.
“Lakewood has always been a very strong, viable middle class community,” he said. “But as we all know, the middle class is being squeezed on both sides.”
“Poverty has moved from the inner city to the inner ring suburbs. We’re challenged. We have more homesteads that are in crisis.”
Here are a few of the other highlights from the address:
Safety: “Crime does exist in Lakewood, but we meet it head on,” he said. “It’s not just that we’re safe, but that we feel safe. “Summers touted the recent annual crime report that shows that crime continued to drop in 2011. Most of the crimes, he said, are related to alcohol and drug abuse. “We’re holding our own, but we have to take our game up. We shouldn’t be ashamed to acknowledge that.”
Development: Summers shared that there’s a projected $20 million in private commercial development coming in 2012. He also highlighted some of the newer businesses such as Paisley Monkey, LaBella Cupcakes and Onix Networking. “Development really is about understanding the demand cycle,” he said highlighting some new home-to-business companies. Summers also touched on Lakewood Hospital, and the changing healthcare industry.
Housing: “There’s not an hour that goes by at city hall, that we don’t think, talk about or work on housing,” Summers said, echoing a similar thought from his March address. He noted that one of the ways to maintain the housing stock is enforcement — the other is prevention, which includes the city’s mandatory landlord training sessions. “We have housing that’s going on its first 100 years,” he said. “We’d like to position these for the next 100 years.”
Core services: It’s no secret that keeping up with the city’s services requires cash. That’s something that the city doesn’t have much of these days. On top of that, Summers pointed out that the city is getting less money from the state ($1.6 million) as well as the federal government. He said the city looks to protect services involving police, fire and EMS; 75 acres of parks; 93 miles of streets; 28 million pounds of refuse; 17,000 structures; and 166 miles of sewers. He also pointed out that the city is facing an EPA mandate to update its storm water system with a mulit-million-dollar improvement. Summers said the city will continue to provide the core services, “with less than we have ever had to do it. That’s the job of local government.”