Mayor Drury spoke for about 20 minutes on Monday night, recapping 2020 and looking forward to 2021.
City of Aurora Mayor Mark Drury gives his State of the City Address on Monday evening. Photo provided.
(Aurora, Ind.) – There is a lot to look forward to this year in the City of Aurora.
Mayor Mark Drury gave his State of the City Address on Monday evening. The speech included a recap of 2020 and a look ahead to things to come in 2021 and beyond.
The mayor started his speech by thanking city employees, volunteers, first responders, and anybody else that has helped move Aurora forward over the last year.
“Nothing happens in the city at the hand of one individual whether its thoughts or actions it takes several folks to get things accomplished," said Drury. "So, my heartfelt thank you goes out to each person who helps move Aurora towards a positive future.”
In 2020, much like any other year, one of the City's top priorities is public safety.
"Let me ensure you that our police, fire and EMS even in this challenging COVID time are up and running and answering the calls," Drury said.
The fire department was able to acquire a heavy duty rescue truck at a heavily reduced rate from the City of Lawrenceburg. New chief and deputy chief vehicles were also acquired to help better serve the community.
“These things are work vehicles, so when they respond to an accident they have the equipment they need to do the job," said Drury.
He added that the fire department continues to focus on recruiting, training and retaining volunteers to continue serving the community, and even encouraged those that are able to join the cause.
The police department has battled through operating with one of two less officers at times, with one officer deployed on military service. Drury says the City put two officers through the police academy in 2020, and will have another go to the academy in 2021.
Last year was also a challenging year for EMS, responding to approximately 1,163 incidents.
Improvements made to the City of Aurora were plenty in 2020 with utilities being a primary focus. The City completed water tower rehabilitation, upgraded water lines under Pleasant View and Third Street, and dedicated $2.2 million to upgrading the meter system. In addition, a bucket truck was gifted to the City from Greendale.
Drury said the City is "taking advantage of opportunities that we can to save every penny we can to get the job done."
However, about $16 million in further improvements are needed. The City has applied for a grant to receive up to $600,000 towards a $1.1 million project that will get the ball rolling.
Other projects that were completed in 2020 include the total reconstruction of Third Street, expansion of the Facade Improvement Grant Program, the opening of several new downtown businesses, and the installation of new playground equipment at Taylor Field
This year, the City will expand the Facade Improvement Grant Program even further allowing all properties within the Aurora City limits to apply for exterior preservation, restoration or rehabilitation projects.
Other exciting developments in 2021 include:
- The opening of Harbor Freight in the River Creek Village Shopping Center
- Conwell Street project - work on stone retaining walls, 600 feet of new sidewalk
- Potential gathering place or restaurant at the recently sold VFW
- Potential outside dining in downtown alleyways that aren't often used
The City also plans several road projects in 2020. The hope is to use Community Crossing Grants to help fund some of the projects, including a successful application for work on Pleasant View and Hilltop.
Other plans include work in the following areas:
- West Fourth Street, lower side of the tracks
- Upper/Lower John Street
- Section of Hillview
- George Street
- Market Street reconstruction (future housing corridor)
Perhaps the biggest project in 2021 is raising enough funds to complete the reconstruction of the city pool. The City has agreed to finance $2.5 million towards a project to revitalize the City Pool. However, another million dollars needs to be raised to bring the city's "dream pool" to fruition. The new pool would feature lap lanes capable of hosting outdoor swimming events, water volleyball court, slide, zero entry section with a play feature for children, heating element to extend the pool season into the early spring and late fall, two-way concession stand for park and pool patrons, public Wi-Fi, and more.
A fundraiser has been launched to get to the million dollar goal, starting with 3-on-3 basketball tournaments in March. Other fundraising events will take place throughout the year as well.
"It’s long outlived its useful lifespan. We’ve endeavored to get this replaced. The only way this is going to come to fruition is if everybody gets on board,” said Drury.
Aurora residents can also look forward to the return of many of their favorite annual events. Mayor Drury says the city intends to move forward with Main Street events, Farmers Fair, 4th of July Fireworks, Miracle on Main and many other events in 2021. Although, those events will be subject to change.
“Aurora continues to be a beautiful river city that we call home,” We continue to attract people into the city and the region. We are faced with many challenges and tremendous need as we move through the next few years. Nothing happens as fast as we like it too, but we continue to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Tough decisions and sacrifice will have to be made as we move forward. Our Aurora will continue to move forward. We accomplish much with what we have,” said Drury.
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