LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer painted a positive picture of the city's past and future during his final State of the City address Thursday.
Fischer, who has been Louisville's mayor since 2010, spent most of the address highlighting the city's achievements of the past 12 years, from investments that improved Louisville's aesthetics and economy to the number of community impact programs established during his administration.
"I am very pleased to report that the state of our city is strong," he said. "Together, we have achieved remarkable accomplishments in the face of daunting odds, and we have laid the foundation for even more dramatic progress in every Louisville neighborhood, for every Louisville family."
During his three terms as mayor, Fischer said he's seen billions of dollars of investments into the city's "built environment" including things like building renovations, two new bridges, road projects and neighborhood restorations. He highlighted projects like Colonial Gardens, Beecher Terrace and the Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center.
Fischer also stressed the importance of investing in the people of Louisville.
"Investing in the stage is important, but investigating in the people on the stage is even more critical," he said.
The mayor talked about youth and education programs including Summer Works, the Cultural Learning Pass and the Compassionate Schools Project - all aimed at helping the next generation of Louisvillians grow into successful and compassionate adults.
Fischer said one of his biggest achievements was Evolve 502 a scholarship program for JCPS students.
“I decided to run for a third term in large part to make those scholarships a reality," he said.
Other topics covered during the address included hospitality, Louisville's transformation into a "soccer city" and the improvements made to city-operated programs and organizations including the Week of Valor, which honors veterans, and Louisville Metro Animal Services.
The mayor acknowledged the challenges the city has faced during his administration including the coronavirus pandemic and gun violence, as well as public safety concerns and tensions surrounding racial equality - both of which came to a head during the 2020 protests sparked by the killing of Breonna Taylor.
Fischer said he was "grateful" to the protesters who took to the streets during the summer of 2020, calling them "change agents" that lead to the city taking action.
"They were right to demand more," he said. He added that he was grateful for a community that held its leaders accountable, himself included.
“Critical to our residents being safe is having trust in law enforcement," Fischer added. He said his administration was committed to a "whole-of-government" approach to public safety reforms. He said that includes programs to interview and prevent violence, as well as increase salaries to better retain public safety workers like police and corrections officers.
At the end of the address, Mayor Fischer talked about the things he was looking forward to accomplishing as his time leading Louisville came to an end. Those items include:
- The launch of a universal basic income pilot to counter poverty and promote financial stability and opportunity;
- Work to further address the challenges of those who are unhoused, including the Safe Outdoor Space;
- Plans for a digital inclusion program to provide refurbished computers to close the digital divide;
- A program to increase the use of solar installations to boost the city’s sustainability efforts; and
- An expansion of Lean Into Louisville “to unify our city around fairness, opportunity and compassion.”
He said he was encouraged by the economic advancements and improvements made during his time as mayor, but was not planning on slowing down now.
"We will make each of the remaining days count," he said.
To read Mayor Fischer's full remarks, click here. You can rewatch the address through the player below.