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A state of the Fredericksburg union message from the city's mayor
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I RECENTLY COMPLETED my first year of service as mayor of Fredericksburg. I have greatly enjoyed the experience, particularly meeting so many wonderful people who genuinely love our fair city, and I want to emphasize what an honor it has been to serve our community.
I believe I can speak on behalf of the entire Fredericksburg City Council in saying that we are proud of the progress we have made in the past year, on a number of fronts.
Work on the downtown parking deck is progressing smoothly, and we are moving ahead on a long-awaited downtown hotel.
The new Lafayette Upper Elementary School has opened.
The Cowan Boulevard extension has opened.
The first phase of the Dixon Street Recreation Complex has opened.
Construction of the city's new state-of-the-art high school is well under way.
Of course, previous councils deserve credit for their foresight in creating the funding sources and even originating the plans for these important projects. However, the current council should be commended for "carrying the ball into the end zone."
Today, I'd like to draw your attention to some additional discussions under way at City Council that also will have a lasting impact in Fredericksburg. Decisions may be made in the very near future that will impact the city for years to come--and I want everyone to be informed and have an opportunity to share their opinions and insights.
The context in which these decisions are made is important.
First, there is geography. Historically, Fredericksburg's location has always been significant. In 1861, the city was located between two warring capitals. We all know the terrible impact upon its citizenry. Today, Fredericksburg is surrounded by two of the fastest-growing counties in the country. Estimates indicate that the greater Washington, D.C., area will have an additional 1.2 million jobs and over 880,000 new households by 2030. Nevertheless, our city has little area left to develop, so we must do it wisely.
Second, there are the city's demographics to consider. Fifty percent of our schoolchildren participate in the school free-lunch program, and we have double the rate of poverty that surrounding counties experience. This is not new; our community has always risen to this challenge and fared extremely well. Nearly 80 percent of the graduates of James Monroe High School last year planned to go to four-year or two-year colleges.