State of the Metropolis 2022 – Metropolis of Lincoln, NE

October 4, 2022

Capitol from Centennial Mall

Watch State of the Metropolis 2022

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird

October 4, 2022

Good morning, everybody! It’s great to be again in individual earlier than the members and supporters of Management Lincoln. Thanks for internet hosting the State of the Metropolis and for all you do to domesticate servant leaders in our group.

Talking of servant leaders we misplaced a very good one in Tom Lorenz the opposite day. Tom made our metropolis higher via his dedication to constructing Pinnacle Financial institution Area and the revitalization of Pinewood Bowl, and he was an unimaginable companion to our group, a tremendous chief, and beloved pal to so many. We’ll miss him a lot.

I do know we’re right here this morning to spotlight what’s taking place as we speak in Lincoln, however earlier than we get there, I’d wish to take you again in time just a few years. Again to an evening after I got here house after a prolonged Metropolis Council assembly to tuck my three kids into mattress. As I bent all the way down to kiss my oldest daughter goodnight, she held me tight, inhaled deeply, and advised me I smelled good. I questioned, “What do I scent like? Was it the spaghetti sauce I’d cooked earlier? My shampoo?” So I requested her, and this was her reply: “You scent like my blankee.” I wasn’t certain if this was a very good factor since I couldn’t bear in mind after I’d final washed it. However then she added, “You scent like house.”

In that valuable second, my daughter jogged my memory that house is a lot greater than an handle. House is a way of safety, energy, and well-being.

I invite you to take a second to ask your self: What does house imply to you?

Since we’re all Nebraskans, possibly this got here to thoughts: “It’s Corn!”

Too corny?

Whether or not you pictured corn, a sea of pink in Memorial Stadium, your personal mother or dad or kids, the Thanksgiving dinner desk set with additional folding chairs, or just a secure place to crawl into mattress every evening after an extended day, I think about that you just, too, pictured folks and locations that give you a way of safety, energy, and well-being.

That’s what I would like for my kids and for all of us in Lincoln. Making certain that this metropolis we name house affords everybody a way of safety, energy, and well-being is what first impressed me to run for mayor, and what continues to encourage my administration’s imaginative and prescient of main Lincoln towards a extra profitable, safe, and shared future.

Now, little did we all know that our work in pursuit of that imaginative and prescient would coincide with a worldwide pandemic. But whereas the pandemic challenged – and adjusted – the structure of our lives, it additionally revealed the energy of our group’s foundations. It strengthened the significance of working towards a imaginative and prescient of a extra profitable, safe, and shared future.

You can clearly see this imaginative and prescient come to life as our devoted group on the Lincoln-Lancaster County Well being Division labored in collaboration with devoted docs, nurses, social service suppliers, cultural middle representatives, religion leaders, college officers, and academics to teach and vaccinate our group. Our collective efforts resulted in Lancaster County having one of many lowest COVID-19 mortality charges each in Nebraska and amongst comparable counties throughout the nation. Collectively, we saved lives.

You can even see the fruits of our group’s efforts in the way in which Lincoln’s economic system has rebounded. Whereas many cities throughout the nation are struggling to bounce again from the pandemic, monetary specialists are being attentive to Lincoln’s robust financial restoration. WalletHub in contrast 180 cities’ total unemployment fee from 2019 to 2021 and located that Lincoln led the nation in unemployment restoration. In addition they in contrast 150 of probably the most populated cities throughout six key classes – Monetary Stability, Schooling , Well being, Security, Economic system and Infrastructure, and Air pollution – with a view to decide the best-run cities in America. Out of these 150 cities, Lincoln ranked quantity 6! We’re setting our personal information, too. In 2021, the Metropolis issued extra constructing and building permits than some other yr on report. As for 2022, we’re approaching that record-setting degree, and we nonetheless have three months to go! I’m so proud to guide our Metropolis group in our efforts to help this record-setting funding in Lincoln’s development.

Whereas these information and rankings assist us see the place we’re relative to everybody else, they are saying much less about how we received right here. In regards to the type of house we’re, and the type of house we need to be. In different phrases, about The State of Our Metropolis….

A Chinese language proverb says, “Irrespective of how stout, one beam can not help a home.” We’ve witnessed the reality of this proverb over the previous three and a half years, and it’s essential to start by acknowledging that it takes a complete host of companions to scaffold a secure and profitable metropolis, to construct this place we name house. I need to acknowledge the members of the Lincoln Metropolis Council, my companions in native authorities. Might you please stand and be acknowledged? I additionally supply my appreciation of our mates and companions on the Lancaster County Board and the Lincoln Public Faculties Board, our Lincoln state senators, appointed members of our metropolis’s boards and commissions, our Metropolis and County Division Administrators and Employees, in addition to my group within the Mayor’s Workplace for his or her sturdy help of our metropolis. Will you all please give them a spherical of applause?

A part of what makes the state of our metropolis so robust is the protection and safety we take pleasure in right here. That’s why public security is my administration’s primary precedence.

The women and men of Lincoln Hearth and Rescue act on this precedence day-after-day. Final yr, our LFR group saved the lives of residents experiencing non-traumatic cardiac arrest at a fee greater than twice the nationwide common. When fires broke out in houses final yr, LFR saved on common 98% of the worth of the property.

To maintain us secure, our firefighters and paramedics want a powerful house base from which to reply our calls. That’s why we’re rebuilding Station 8, one of many busiest in our metropolis. This new station will embrace fashionable dwelling quarters extra appropriate for as we speak’s firefighting workforce, lots of whom are ladies. In actual fact, ladies serve inside LFR ranks at a fee 3 times the nationwide common.

Along with LFR, our Lincoln Police Division is the spine of our public security response. The standard of life we take pleasure in is made doable by LPD’s dedication to guard and serve our whole group.

Because of LPD’s dedication, violent crime, felonies, misdemeanors, site visitors accidents, and site visitors accidents all have decreased this yr relative to t he earlier five-year interval. Our group at LPD, who serve with excellence and put themselves in danger every day, deserve applicable compensation, which is one thing I’m proud our new police contract achieves, making our officers the highest-paid legislation enforcement within the state of Nebraska and enhancing LPD’s capability to retain and recruit high expertise .

To maintain our group secure because it grows, we proceed to develop our investments in public security. Our most up-to-date Metropolis finances provides six firefighter paramedics, bringing the overall variety of LFR personnel added to the division throughout my administration to twenty-eight. The finances additionally provides one other 5 law enforcement officials, two 9-1-1 dispatchers, and three civilian workers, which brings the overall variety of LPD professionals added throughout my administration to 31. We complement our investments in personnel with investments in what first responders must preserve us secure. This contains extra gear, elevated coaching for responding to psychological health-related requires service, and an increasing partnership via which LPD’s Particular Victims Unit might be co-located with the Youngster Advocacy Middle to boost the providers they supply to victims of kid abuse and sexual assault.

As a result of public security is our primary precedence, we put money into it in ways in which transcend the important providers delivered by our first responders. I’m happy to announce as we speak that the Metropolis is embarking on a daring initiative to remove traffic-related deaths and extreme accidents in Lincoln, with the intermediate aim of decreasing them 60% by the yr 2045. With management from our group at LTU, our initiative, Protected Streets Lincoln – A Imaginative and prescient Zero Venture, will look at many components that contribute to secure mobility — together with roadway design, speeds, behaviors, know-how, and insurance policies — and work to attain the last word aim of zero fatalities and extreme accidents amongst our drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Whereas security and safety high the listing of my administration’s priorities, we additionally perceive that house needs to be a spot that provides a way of belonging. Making a group the place all of us take pleasure in true belonging and expertise equal alternative to achieve our full human potential is the muse of our One Lincoln initiative.

This initiative begins with Metropolis Corridor, the place we work to make our group more and more reflective of the group we serve. To this finish, we have now employed a variety, fairness, and inclusion or DEI supervisor in our Human Assets Division, diversified Metropolis boards and commissions, and brought administrative motion to guard Metropolis workers from discrimination. We joined the Authorities Alliance on Race and Fairness and, via that community, a cadre of Metropolis group members from each division are at present endeavor a year-long DEI coaching. And whereas we nonetheless have work to do, Lincoln’s rating within the Human Rights Marketing campaign’s Municipal Equality Index has elevated by 39 factors in the course of the previous three years and as we speak stands at 92 out of 100, surpassing Omaha to change into the very best rating of any metropolis in Nebraska.

Our efforts to make sure all really feel at house in Lincoln additionally imply we welcome newcomers into our group and welcome again these whose ancestors first lived right here. I used to be honored to take part in a current ceremony with members of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe as collectively we promoted good will and consciousness that our metropolis rests on the homeland of their forebears.

Our present-day residents journey many roads to make Lincoln their house. Our metropolis’s rising inhabitants contains 30,000 immigrants and refugees from 150 nations. Our new “Lincoln-Lancaster County Welcoming and Belonging Strategic Plan” acknowledges and builds on the financial and cultural vibrancy that our new American mates and neighbors deliver to our whole group.

As we advance fairness, we work to remove disparities between our group members’ high quality of life and entry to providers. Listed below are only a few examples:

  • To help equitable entry to the lifelong studying alternatives provided by our metropolis libraries, we just lately eradicated overdue charges on all supplies.
  • For elders in our group, we help impartial dwelling with sizzling meals, health lessons, counseling, and companionship. Within the coming months, we plan to open the doorways to Victory Park, the brand new house base for our Growing older Companions Division and for enhanced providers to Lincoln seniors and veterans.
  • For our youngest residents, we launched the Lead Protected Lincoln initiative this yr. Lead Protected Lincoln helps check kids for lead publicity and assists households with kids who present elevated lead ranges. By means of this federally funded initiative, we enhance these households’ well being with house inspections, threat assessments, and lead paint and pipe remediation that make Lincoln houses safer and put mother and father’ minds comfy as they tuck their kids into mattress at evening.

I’m thrilled that this work to make sure all Lincoln kids are wholesome and get a terrific begin in life simply received an enormous enhance! Our most up-to-date Metropolis finances funds a common house well being visitation program that makes Well being Division nurses accessible to help the well-being of all infants born in Lincoln, and their moms. This program does greater than take child steps. It’ll assist our kids hit their stride, rising up wholesome and able to contribute to a thriving Lincoln of the longer term.

Past this dedication to house visits for infants and their moms, to lead-safe houses for younger kids, and to constructing a metropolis the place all really feel at house, it’s essential to underscore that a part of our mission is to make sure each Lincoln resident has an precise place to name house. Our Metropolis group has been laser-focused on this mission all through the pandemic. Using federal pandemic aid funds and collaborating with non-profit service suppliers and the Tenant Help Venture, we have now helped over 5,000 households pay a mixed $40 million {dollars} in hire and utilities. This extraordinary effort has saved tenants safely housed and property managers’ and house owners’ incomes steady.

We made additional progress on our aim to make sure all our group members have a spot to name house when Lincoln grew to become one among simply 22 cities within the nation to win a federal grant for a challenge that goals to finish youth homelessness. Working in partnership with native businesses, this challenge will assist us create a significant security web for Lincoln youth.

Ending homelessness requires a multifaceted method which is why we’re taking an extra, pivotal step to accommodate our most susceptible residents. I’m happy to announce as we speak that my administration is allocating $4.2 million {dollars} in federal aid funds to construct a 24-room everlasting supportive housing facility to assist alleviate persistent homelessness in Lincoln.

These efforts to accommodate folks experiencing homelessness are ones we undertake along with the work our Metropolis group does every day to facilitate development within the provide of all housing varieties. Our work to help the personal sector in rising Lincoln’s housing inventory is leading to historic ranges of residential building. The mixed variety of housing building permits the Metropolis issued final and this yr thus far exceeds the variety of residential permits issued in Lincoln throughout some other two-year interval because the Nineteen Seventies.

Past these each day efforts to help the creation of housing at each value level, I’m so happy to report that we’re effectively forward of schedule to fulfill my administration’s bold aim to create 5,000 new or rehabilitated reasonably priced housing items by 2030. In simply two years, we have now incentivized the creation of over 1,200 new or rehabilitated unit s. To protect and improve the standard of our current reasonably priced housing inventory, we just lately launched a rental rehabilitation program within the South of Downtown neighborhood. The primary section of this multi-year program goals to enhance 100 older dwellings and preserve reasonably priced rental charges on this historic a part of city.

Whereas there’s a lot to rejoice in constructing and bettering housing domestically, we’re clever to recollect all of us inhabit a a lot bigger house that helps every little thing – and everybody – we maintain pricey. We stay in a vital second for the way forward for our planet, the place the selections we make as we speak decide the kind of world our kids and grandchildren will inherit.

If that possibly sounds too summary or daunting, it is value remembering the phrases of the Indian thinker Rabindranath Tagore, who way back stated, “Allow us to not pray to be sheltered from risks, however to be fearless when dealing with them.”

This fearless spirit animates the work of my administration’s Resilient Lincoln initiative, via which we sort out the truth of our climate-related dangers and acknowledge that embedded in these dangers lie alternatives. Alternatives offered in our Metropolis’s Local weather Motion Plan – the primary of its sort in Nebraska. Actions we’re taking to construct a extra sustainable, resilient future for everybody who calls Lincoln house.

We took an enormous step towards a extra sustainable, resilient Lincoln this summer time when, shoulder to shoulder with key stakeholders, we launched our metropolis’s efforts to safe a second supply of water. Whereas projections point out that we have now an ample water provide for the subsequent 26 years, we should start planning now to make sure Lincoln can proceed to develop and thrive in a warmer, drier future. This work will take many years, and whereas many people received’t be there when the ribbon is lower, we owe our kids this future.

Our metropolis’s public transportation system is accelerating towards this extra sustainable, resilient future – however with out placing a foot on the fuel. LTU secured one of many largest federal grants in Metropolis historical past to construct a brand new multimodal transportation middle. The transportation middle will join folks extra effectively to their jobs and colleges, improve the rider expertise, enhance working situations for our bus drivers, and assist us meet two local weather objectives my administration has set : to transform our Metropolis fleet to 100% electrical, renewable, or alternatively fueled autos by 2040 and to cut back Lincoln’s web greenhouse fuel emissions 80% by 2050 .

Getting ready our infrastructure and group to be safer and resilient within the face of accelerating local weather change necessitates a collective effort. That’s why the Metropolis created a Local weather-Good Collaborative with Lincoln Public Faculties, the College of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln Electrical System, and Lancaster County. Working collectively, we’re positioning our group to change into a frontrunner in powering our autos with clear and renewable power whereas decreasing dangerous greenhouse fuel emissions.

As we advance local weather motion methods, pure local weather options play an essential function, which is a part of why our Lincoln Parks and Recreation Division works so laborious to guard and develop greenspaces and our city tree cover. I’m significantly happy with their partnership with the Nebraska Forest Service, the Lincoln Neighborhood Basis, and our group on the City Growth Division that’s piloting a brand new grant-funded effort to take away and change at-risk timber on the properties of low-income owners. This funding in sustaining our city forest cleans our air, conserves power, cools streets, and preserves the top quality of life we take pleasure in.

In tandem with our actions to help sustainable, long-term development, we prioritize present financial development alternatives for residents and companies via our Lincoln Ahead initiative. Our efforts bolster these of the personal sector by making strategic investments in workforce growth that join staff to the careers they want, and companies to the employees they want.

We delivered in an historic method on this dedication to domesticate financial alternative once we awarded $12 million from our American Rescue Plan funds to develop the workforce we’d like in Lincoln. Six native recipient organizations will practice and join folks with high-demand expertise to jobs in key industries, together with welding, well being sciences, I.T., manufacturing, and childcare.

The work to maneuver Lincoln Ahead occurs actually day-after-day at Metropolis Corridor. Our voter-approved Lincoln on the Transfer initiative has been paving the way in which for brand new highway building and enhancements to current streets since 2019. This initiative has supplemented our common finances for streets by almost $42 million to date, and it’ll make investments hundreds of thousands extra over the course of its six-year length, serving to us to make sure Lincoln is a metropolis that aligns mobility, security, development, and financial alternative.

Our work to maneuver Lincoln Ahead is evident not solely on our streets, but in addition in our skyline. Do not forget that record-setting constructing and building exercise I spoke about earlier?

Listed below are only a few of the initiatives, supported by the Metropolis with monetary incentives and infrastructure, which have put constructing cranes within the air and building crews to work:

  • Duncan Aviation is increasing and including new job alternatives.
  • The brand new Scarlet Resort is permitting us to welcome extra guests to Innovation Campus and our metropolis.
  • The Telegraph District is making a thriving new neighborhood for work and life (and a few actually good sizzling yoga).
  • Centerpointe is reworking Trabert Corridor right into a Campus for Well being and Wellbeing that can present housing, substance-use prevention, medical, and psychological well being providers.
  • Gatehouse Rows will change into the most important reasonably priced housing challenge since we adopted our Reasonably priced Housing Coordinated Motion Plan.
  • Tabitha’s Intergenerational Dwelling Neighborhood will home elder residents and nursing college students who’re coaching to take care of them.
  • And the American Job Middle will quickly join extra job seekers with expertise, sources, and alternatives from their new headquarters on the primary ground of the newly renovated Eagle Parking Storage.

As we transfer Lincoln Ahead, we step as much as the plate with our personal sector companions to launch game-changing, catalyst initiatives that develop financial alternative and our high quality of life. Standing with our companions within the grass close to Oak Lake final week, we unveiled plans for the Lincoln Youth Complicated that can flip a Subject of Desires into eight real-life ballfields. This complicated will change into the primary youth sports activities program in Lincoln focused to incorporate underserved youth on a big scale, whereas additionally enjoying host to tournaments and guests that infuse {dollars} into our economic system for years to return.

One other catalyst challenge goals to capitalize on our group’s standing as a hub for stay music: I’m excited to announce as we speak that we’re formally kicking off our Downtown Music District challenge. We wish Lincoln to be within the vanguard of the “Music Cities” motion and probably one of many first communities within the nation to create a district targeted on the stay music scene. We’re convening a Music District Advisory Committee that can meet for the primary time this week to help growth of a flourishing native music ecosystem that fuels job creation, expertise retention and attraction, entrepreneurialism, tourism, and a few actually good occasions!

As we take pleasure in and develop “the great life” within the Capital Metropolis, I hope you share my sense of pleasure in calling Lincoln house. Just like the corn our state is understood for, Lincoln has the juice!

Lincoln additionally has one thing else – for the primary time in 90 years, we have now a brand new, shared image for this place we name house.

Final yr, residents provided their concepts for that image within the type of a brand new Metropolis flag. Of the greater than 190 individuals who submitted designs, native artist Ed Mejia who’s right here with us this morning, created one entitled “All Roads Result in Lincoln” that rose to the highest.

Ed’s design – now our flag – invitations folks to see themselves in it. To see themselves as that little star within the center as they create new issues, and as they construct their households, careers, and lives right here.

To see Lincoln’s flag is to really feel we’re rooted in a really particular place.

We’re house.

A house the place we really feel secure, safe, and effectively.

The place we have now alternatives to construct our lives and livelihoods.

The place we belong.

This house we name Lincoln is a superb place to plant our flag – to proudly elevate it and affirm that the state of our metropolis is robust!

Thanks all!

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