It is a rainy Sunday afternoon as I sit here composing my thoughts. Boston’s “Don’t Look Back” lp is playing on the phonograph while I get relaxed enough to write.
“Well come on
All you people
The time has come to get together
You gotta have a little rock ‘n’ roll music
To get you through the stormy weather…”
Its days like today that let me completely relax and prepare for the week. In this case, I’m also preparing for the month and the year to come.
I’ve got a number of goals for the new year. Some of them are personal (eg. Get on my bike more). Some of them are professional (eg. continuing to grow the bottom line of my business). Some of them are for the city and those I’ll share with you in a little more detail:
My primary city goal is to be the best mayor that I can be. I ran for this job two years ago promising to provide solid leadership to the city. Based on the vast majority of the comments I’ve gotten over the past two years, I’d say “so far, so good”. For 2016, I plan to continue working with my fellow council members to build the consensus we need to keep moving forward.
Another goal is for us to make our parks great places for our residents to play and relax. I see our parks as places for daily/weekly enjoyment, not just special events venues.
The big Sims Park project is drawing to a close. The next year will see us making some final additions (eg. the proposed LCD screens beside the stage) at Sims Park for our movies in the park series and other events. I hope you will join me at the ribbon cutting on January 30th. I believe you are going to love what you see. The park will be much more family friendly than it ever has been and there will be plenty of places where you can just kick back in the shade and enjoy nature.
Plans are well underway to further integrate Orange Lake into Sims Park.
The Massachusetts Avenue multi-use path is well on its way to completion. I rode a section of it on New Year’s Day. Another path (Marine Parkway) is in the design phase.
We should see some more modest changes and improvements at some of our other parks this next year.
We have several carry over goals for 2016:
One of them is to continue to work to address the very real issue of crime. I believe we can continue to make New Port Richey less attractive to criminals. First and foremost in this fight will be to continue to go after the drug dealers. You can trace quite a bit of the property crime in town, women offering to prostitute themselves along US 19, and even chronic homelessness back to drug abuse. If we can successfully turn up the heat on the dealers and help direct the addicts to programs that will help them get their lives back under control, we will have accomplished something significant.
Another goal is to clean up the appearance of the city. Properly enforced, several of the ordinances we passed this past year should help make the city more visually attractive. Additionally, I want us to continue the very successful cleanup days we have twice a year. The Hacienda cleanups proved that our residents will turn out to clean things up when asked. Imagine citywide cleanup days that attract hundreds of volunteers to help our seniors and others get rid junk that seems to accumulate.
My goal for economic development is to make sure that the city continues to work to attract businesses and good paying jobs to New Port Richey. We’ve had some successes over the past couple of years, but there are still a LOT of opportunities out there. Between our city manager, our economic development director, and our new Main Street program coordinator, I believe staff is up to the task. I’ll do my best to make sure that my colleagues on council and I provide staff with all the tools they need to do the job at hand.
None of this is rocket science. We need your help. I need your help to make things happen.
By all means, let us know when we are doing things right. The encouragement that I get almost daily from you is what keeps me on task. I’m sure that my fellow council members feel the same way when you let them know how excited you are about the changes we’ve managed so far.
Just as importantly though, let us know when you think we are missing something obvious. We are human. We make mistakes. Every single one of us values your input.
If you see something in your neighborhood that isn’t right, report it. PLEASE. Report anything suspicious to the police department. Criminals are like roaches. If we can shine enough light on them, they will scurry off somewhere else.
Get out and meet your neighbors. We had a great block party in my neighborhood a couple of months ago. I’m looking forward to the next one. Watch out for your neighbors. A special thanks to one of my neighbors. He coaxed one of my son’s dogs back into our back yard after the dog pulled a “Houdini” stunt this afternoon. (I’ve secured the exit path…we’ll see how long that lasts…)
To the extent that we come together as a community, there is nothing that we can’t do if we set our minds to it.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor
(I’m now on my third Boston album this afternoon: After “Don’t Look Back”, I listened to the double LP “Life, Love, and Hope”, and “Third Stage” is now on the phonograph…
“Heading where we decide on.
And I know that there’s something that’s just out of sight.
And I feel like we’re trying to do something right…”
We’ll pick another band for inspiration next week.)