The state of the city is “poised for progress,” Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell said in an annual address Wednesday.
About 200 attended the State of the City and State of the County addresses on Jan. 17 at Angie’s Catering and Cakes in Logansport, according to Bill Cuppy, executive director of the Logansport-Cass County Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the luncheon. Kitchell and Cass County Commissioners President Jim Sailors used the occasion to look back on the highlights and challenges of 2017 and look forward to tasks they want to take on this year.
Sailors, who’s starting the second year of his third term, said the county’s highway department spent $2.7 million on road resurfacing, preservation and maintenance in 2017, the most he said the county’s been able to spend on roads in the last nine years.
Cass County has the first two agricultural shovel-ready classified sites in the state, Sailors went on to say. He added a sale is nearly completed on a property in the county’s agribusiness park.
Sailors also referred to plans for a contentious wind turbine project in the northern part of the county. It would increase the county’s tax base by an estimated $810 million, Sailors said, a boost he added would take decades to accomplish if done one business at a time.
The additional funds would help the county increase employee wages, Sailors said, which leaders have struggled with in the past. It would also help the county avoid staff reductions like the one officials had to see through in recent years, he added.
He dismissed the wind energy project opponents’ concerns as “emotional.”
“Those people can only see what’s in front of their face and are certainly not concerned with anything other than what they want,” Sailors said.
Sailors said relations continue to improve between Logansport and Cass County governments, an issue that’s been important to city and county officials in recent years.
“That doesn’t mean we agree on everything, but we do communicate and try to work it out,” Sailors said as the audience applauded.
Kitchell, who’s starting the third year of his term, said in his address that city building permits are up 35 percent since 2015 while unemployment is at 3.6 percent, which is under both state and national averages. He also said 11 miles of Logansport streets have been paved in the past two years.
A potential development at the Logansport-Cass County Memorial Center, the Indiana Transportation Museum’s increasing presence in town, a downtown housing development, a new historic district and plans for new LED streetlights were also on Kitchell’s list of highlights for 2017. He added he’s looking forward to seeing what a China liaison and retail recruiter the city has hired can do for the community.
In 2018, Kitchell said he wants to tackle tasks like workforce development and a housing master plan along with applying for the state’s Stellar Communities program, which offers millions of dollars in grant and loan opportunities to small Indiana communities each year.
Cuppy called the past year positive when he addressed Wednesday’s audience.
“We must continue to promote ourselves and be proud of Logansport and Cass County,” he said.