Mayor Billy Phelps delivers State of the City 2024
During Thursday night's City Council Meeting, Mayor Billy Phelps gave the following State of the City Address.
As we gather once again for our annual State of the City Address, it fills me with pride to reflect upon the extraordinary journey that Morgantown undertook throughout the year of 2023. I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the growth and financial stability, we have maintained over the last 9 years. We completed the largest capital investment the City has ever undertaken and still maintained a healthy balance in our General Fund.
This year, Morgantown debuted the “Summer Social”. Bringing the community together with free concerts at the park. Despite the scorching heat, it offered an ideal backdrop for residents to enjoy music in the company of family and friends. On the notable date of May 27th, we commemorated a milestone in our city’s history—the grand reopening of Charles Black City Park. This not only unveiled the greatly anticipated recreation area that the park provides but also it show-cased the introduction of the 1813 Freedom Park. These spaces aren’t just recreational; they are the beating heart of our community, fostering connections and creating enduring memories. The city pool emerged as a favorite hub of entertainment, hosting 4 dive-in movies, 78 pool parties. And 10 free swim nights – a testament to the joy it brings to our residents throughout the summer.
Our 3rd annual Holiday Hoopla was a big hit, going beyond expectations and setting the stage for an even more fabulous event in 2024. This festive tradition, now ingrained in Morgantown’s culture, lit up our winter nights with lights, laughter, And shared moments. Families and friends came together to enjoy the decorated streets, Local vendor, Christmas music, and an amazing drone show. It’s become a cherished tradition, and were excited to make the next Holiday Hoopla in 2024 an ever brighter and more joyous celebration for our community.
In 2023, our local economy continued to thrive, welcoming new businesses into the fold. One being Aerospace Composites, this is a huge step in a positive direction for our Industrial Park. Aerospace Composites will be the first factory to join the area and will help in developing our Industrial Park by constructing a state-of-the-art facility to operate in, and they are 1 of only 3 Aerospace business in the state. This will add to the number of jobs accessible within Morgantown; we currently have about 2,000 people being employed in our factories within the city everyday and we look forward to seeing that number grow. (Remember we are a city of only 2800 people) --Two of the new businesses that opened their doors in 2023, Hometown Trophy and Herbal Mama, successfully completed our entrepreneur program, earning them the Entrepreneur grants.
Our commitment to enhancing reactional spaces continued with the completion of the Land-Water Conservation Fund Grant for the Boat Dock at the Riverside Park. These projects are stepping stones toward making the Riverside Park a completed land mark for our residents. The launch of a Farmer’s Market, supported by a grant, will add another vibrant layer to our community growth.
The Morgantown Police Department continued to reinforce its infrastructure of buying new vehicles to support the safety efforts for our community and Police officers, We upgraded our taser equipment and added body cameras to each officer for their safety and the support of criminal and civil cases and transparency to our citizens.
The Morgantown Maintenance Department worked tirelessly to get our City Park opened all while continuing to maintain the safety of our roads, ditches, and right of ways throughout the City, And that’s a total of 80,155 ft or 15.18 miles of city roadway not including all of the federal road right-of-ways we mow, also keeping our City Cemetery mowed and manicured. And we have ordered all new fencing to replace the old at the cemetery.
The City Hall Staff had almost a complete changeover in April of last year, less than 1 month before having to present a New City Budget to our City Council. And as you can see by everything that was accomplished this year, they have picked up the reins and ran with it, they have accomplished more than I ever expected.
In addition to these remarkable accomplishments, our services expanded in the MOGO BUS to include delivering meals in partnership with The Kitchen. The initiative provided an impressive 3,762 meals delivered to those in need. The MOGO Bus continued to be a vital lifeline for our community, delivering an astonishing 13,962 riders throughout the year.
Morgantown, your dedication, and hard work have been the driving force behind these incredible achievements. As we celebrate the successes of 2023. Let us continue to work hand in hand, making Morgantown a beacon of prosperity, unity, and pride. In the upcoming year, we will host another May Summer Social, the fourth annual Holiday Hoopla, and another exceptional firework show, begin construction on our Farmers Market and a walking trail at our Riverside Park, take the next steps towards the new fire and police station, and hope the list continues to grow for the betterment of our community. As I mention “WE” I’m talking about the collective efforts – the City Council, Boards, staff and myself. The strides made over the past nine years and our aspirations for the upcoming year hinge on the dedication of everyone here.
From tackling tough decisions to working overtime, sacrificing weekends, planning events, overseeing grants hanging holiday lights, and ensuring the safety of our citizens, each individual in this room in integral. Speaking on behalf of the City Council and myself, a heartfelt thank you. We eagerly anticipate a thriving and successful 2024 for Team Morgantown.