Chattanooga Mayor gives final State of the City speech
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – On Thursday, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke gave a virtual State of the City address one last time as his 8 years in office is coming to a close.
“I could not know then what the ensuing years would bring. A terrorism attack. A devastating bus crash. A tornado. A multi-day water outage. A global pandemic. Another recession. A reckoning with racial injustice. Yet, here I stand again, and return today to the words I uttered eight years ago. When we ensure that every Chattanoogan has the tools and the power to write her own story, we change the arc of our city,“ he said.
The Mayor touched on his proudest achievements.
Some came in his first year in office after a series of public input meetings.
They include starting the Innovation District and creating the Tivoli Foundation.
“I pulled together new groups, like the Mayors Youth Council, the Council for Women, and the Council on Livability and Aging, to make sure that I never lost sight of the people’s priorities as we moved ahead,“ Mayor Berke said.
He spoke on the work done to tacklegang violence and provide affordable housing. According to Berke, more than 2,000 affordable units have been built or kept during his time in office.
He’s also proud that the City had a balanced budget every year of his administration.
“And upped our bond rating to AAA, which means as I leave office, our city is in outstanding fiscal shape, despite the crushing budgetary blows from the pandemic,” he said
Mayor Berke recalled a favorite memory of announcing an agreement with VW to build the Atlas.
He also mentioned the redevelopment of the former Harriet Tubman site in East Chattanooga.
“Eventually we inked a deal to bring Nippon Paint to East Chattanooga, the first economic development project for that area in more than 100 years. And part of the tax revenue from the city and county is dedicated to enhancing the infrastructure that will bring housing and amenities for the surrounding neighborhood,” he said.
The Mayor did not speak on what he might do next in his address.
Election Day for the city’s next mayor is in March.