The State of the City address from Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier is typically one of the Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce’s biggest fundraisers.
Under current COVID-19 gathering restrictions, the chamber was only permitted to have 25 guests in attendance March 4 at The Garrison, 6002 N. Post. Rd.
So, in conjunction with the City of Lawrence, the chamber decided to move the luncheon to 11:30 a.m. May 12 in anticipation that a larger gathering will be permitted.
“They usually sell it out,” Collier said. “If I can believe what I read from Johns Hopkins (School of Medicine) doctors saying by the end of April there will be herd immunity, I’m banking on that.”
However, other health experts aren’t sure that will be the case.
Collier gave a sneak preview of a few highlights that will likely lead off his speech.
“At the end of 2020, we ended the year in the best financial shape we’ve ever been,” Collier said. “We had an operating reserve of $8.6 million. For the second year in a row, we’ve had the highest operating reserve in the city’s history. We are about to receive our fourth straight GFOA (Government Finance Officer Award) for distinguished budget presentations. Our S&P rating continues to be A-plus, as does our utility.”
Collier will discuss some major economic development projects that will be happening soon.
Freije Engineered Solutions, a commercial refrigeration company, will break ground in the spring.
“It will be bringing with it 150 high-paid employees,” he said.
DroneDek, a high-tech mailbox for drone delivery, will move to a facility at 4423 Shadeland Ave.
“Enterprise has opened a new facility adjacent to the Williams Comfort Air,” Collier said. “The Standard at Fort Ben apartment complex will be opening by the first of summer with 250 high-end apartments. The Tru by Hilton Hotel is moving dirt now for its construction.”
The Fort Ben Cultural Campus is set to open May 22.
“We have a major new water plant that will be opened in April 2022 that will greatly expand our ability to produce water here in the city,” Collier said. “We continue to do water and sewer main replacement in the oldest part of the city. We’ve spent about $30 million in sewer and water improvements since 2017.”
For more, visit greaterlawrencechamber.org.