by Mitchell Kirk
Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin and Cass County Commissioner President Dave Arnold delivered their respective State of the City and State of the County addresses Wednesday afternoon.
Emphasizing a theme of continued cooperation, the two outlined the past accomplishments of the governmental bodies they lead and goals for the future.
One goal the two leaders said they shared was increasing economic development in the area.
“It’s a battle we all have to fight together,” Arnold said, adding that it was going to require an aggressive and proactive approach.
Arnold said the county and city have taken steps to address this goal by establishing a nine-person board of county and city officials within the Cass Logan Economic Development Organization, or CLEDO. Along with Arnold and Franklin, other board members include Cass County Council President George Stebbins, City Councilman Bob Bishop and other members representing local utilities, healthcare, finance, business and manufacturing.
Franklin praised CLEDO at the luncheon Tuesday for President Connie Neininger’s assurance to make the organization more accountable and accessible in aiding local businesses.
“Our new organization is much smaller, more nimble and quick in responding to the changing economic times that we face today,” Franklin said.
Arnold said one way the county is specifically trying to increase economic development is by joining the North Central Indiana Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. The group is made up of six counties and assists communities with developing strategies for growth, like finding and writing grants.
Franklin commended the city and the county’s cooperation in other areas like providing emergency services, snowplowing and taking on property cleanups.
In his address, Arnold mentioned the roundabout that was created on Chase Road last August, which was also a joint effort.
“We’re getting a lot of compliments,” Arnold said. “I think the traffic flow is very smooth.”
Making his second State of the City address, Franklin cited the challenges he faced in his inaugural year in office, like the new leadership in city departments.
“Every single department head was brand new and we have a lot to learn,” Franklin said. “We’ve acknowledged the mistakes and we’re devoted to correcting them.”
After declaring his support for the proposed refuse-derived fueled power plant at the Logansport Municipal Utilities board meeting Tuesday night, Franklin further established his stance on the matter by stating in his address that the motivation for the new plant stemmed from a desire to decrease electricity rates, establish a project with little risk to the city and improve the area’s environmental sustainability.
“I’m happy to report that those goals are attainable,” Franklin said.
Earlier this month, members of a Chinese education delegation signed memorandums of understanding to establish sister school relationships with Logansport schools. In his speech, Franklin said he looked forward to developing this relationship.
“I’m confident that history will judge these efforts as the beginning point of a new era in Logansport’s understanding of what it means to live in a global society,” Franklin said.
Arnold and Franklin both acknowledged the various departments, boards, councils and committees they work with as well. Arnold said he was particularly pleased with county employees for continuing to work hard despite recent budget cuts.
Three awards were presented throughout the luncheon to residents for their commitment to their communities. Franklin presented the Spirit of the City Award to Deanna Crispen for her work with the Cass County Community Foundation. Cass County Commissioner Jim Sailors presented the Spirit of the County Award to Larry Lowry for his work as a veterans service officer. Former Pharos-Tribune Managing Editor Kelly Hawes presented the Beacon Award to Kathy Dingo and Pam Leeman for their efforts in Logansport’s downtown revitalization.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.