Mayor Michael Caldwell delivered his 2023 State of the City address in January. In his speech, he highlighted the City of Woodstock's accomplishments in 2022 and outlined his priorities for 2023.
"This month marks the dawn of a new quarter century in our city's story, and I mean for us to meet it head on. We will not pass on this day's challenges to future councils or future generations. We will continue to heed our calling and leave this city better for our children," said Mayor Caldwell.
The mayor outlined his top three major policies for the upcoming year:
• To enhance quality of life by focusing on parks expansions and establishing Woodstock as a regional trail hub
• To build a more sustainable, secure economy by diversifying the commercial base with a concerted effort to recruit high-paying jobs and businesses into the core of the city
• To concentrate City efforts on building generational wealth for citizens through the largest economic engine in human history, American home ownership.
"The challenges that we face are issues that nearly every other community in America would do anything to have. As cities and communities around the state and the nation struggle, watching their populations flee to greener pastures," Mayor Caldwell noted, "Woodstock looks ahead to brighter days."
Mayor Caldwell cited crime rates, the unemployment rate, transportation projects, and relationships with governments and the private sector to demonstrate that the City's metrics are improving and continuing toward success.
Regarding Woodstock City Council's intention to complete Little River Park, Mayor Caldwell noted that $8 million of the upcoming SPLOST has been allocated to completing Phase 1.
"We have finally laid the groundwork to make the 'soon' on those 'Little River Park Coming Soon' signs on Trickum Road actually mean 'soon,'" Mayor Caldwell said.
The mayor also shared a progress update on the City Center project, a $100+ million project that will create more than 50,000 square feet of office space, a 120-room boutique hotel, conference center, restaurants, retail, park space, critical street realignments, and a 647-space parking deck.
"This project represents a true, fiscally conservative approach to public-private partnership with the public infrastructure, streets, park, parking deck being built with public investment, and the private portion of the project being entirely paid for with private dollars," said Mayor Caldwell.
According to the mayor, Woodstock has executed a development agreement with the contractor for the infrastructure portions of the City Center project, and a ground breaking on the Chambers Street and East Main Street realignments will take place this quarter.
Mayor Caldwell expressed his aim to establish the infrastructure needed for residents who own businesses outside of the city to relocate their headquarters to Woodstock.
"For both new and existing Woodstock businesses alike, we are intent on making sure that our city, like our state, is number one for business," Mayor Caldwell said, as he revealed a link to a new business recruitment form on the City's website.
The mayor stressed he wants to build an economy in Woodstock that can lead the way in restoring the sense of community that America needs.
A video and transcript of the mayor's complete State of the City address can be found at WoodstockGa.gov.