Mayor Brown Delivers State of the City Address
Mayor Michael R. Brown of Grand Forks delivered his 2018 State of the City address to a sold out crowd of over 600 people at the Alerus Center Wednesday, February 14.
With a theme of "I Love Grand Forks" - coinciding with Valentine's Day - Mayor Brown declared the State of the City is "ever stronger" and emphasized the opportunities ahead, particularly as the community acts to "lead locally"
"While we have good partners at the state and federal levels" Brown said, "this is the time we must lead locally. . . public sector, private sector, academia, non-profits, faith based and individual are all synchronized and coordinated to grow local opportunity and prosperity."
Brown spoke on the major themes of the City's role to "Protect, Serve, Support and Inspire" expressing gratitude for the City departments working smartly and efficiently to protect and serve the residents while supporting community partners and serving to inspire community members to invest their energy and passion into the community.
The event began with a "State of the Youth" presentation by Grand Forks Youth Commission Members, Maia Jackson and Shawn Johnson and by musical numbers by Red River High School members and Summer Performing Arts (SPA) representatives, Teri Haastrup and Shalom Onyeka.
Some of the initiatives proposed by the Mayor were continuing the work of the Call to Action partners, specifically the State Targeted Response grant activities and other grant activities to promote education, treatment and recovery support for addiction. "Let's be clear: Addiction is a chronic disease. In all we do, we must eliminate the stigma. Prevention works, treatment is effective and people do recover."
Brown also proposed a conversation with the United Way, Community Foundation, Faith-based partners and others called the Grand Forks Promise fund to incentivize innovative approaches to address equity issues like poverty, access to employment and barriers to engaging in the community.
Brown expressed support for President Kennedy’s OneUND Strategic Plan and specifically the Coulee to Columbia project, noting UND's campus is "one of Grand Forks' most authentic and beloved neighborhoods", increased student engagement and being an active partner with UND's research and commercialization efforts in technology fields of UAS, Data and Energy.
Brown also addressed ongoing subjects, noting support for the library “particularly how it serves as an asset to all our residents as a hub of curiosity and of exploration", for the private sector-funded Public Arts Commission plan and the Veterans' Memorial Park.
This event also unveiled the City's awareness campaign and logo for keeping residents informed about how the November 2017 water and roads sales tax was to be collected, allocated and used, while also suggesting the 2019 City Budget process would include a reprise of last year's Pop-Up City Hall events and online surveys.
This is the 16th annual State of the City address given by Mayor Brown in partnership with the Chamber of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.
CLICK HERE for a copy of the 2018 State of the City Speech