Message From The Mayor
Do you remember how things were around here five years ago? Palm Coast was the poster child for Florida's economic meltdown. For too many months, Palm Coast, as well as our state and our nation, experienced a deep recession with record unemployment and home foreclosures, a stagnant business climate and diminishing home values. Despite the uncertain-ty of those economic times, our City Council was challenged to search for sustainability. In 2011, Council adopted our "Prosperity 2021" economic development plan to grow our local economy. The plan focused on three priorities and urged staff to press forward with implementation of these three components:
Keeping our neighborhoods beautiful:
Staff increased rehabilitation efforts to include hundreds of miles of stormwater swales and rebuilt weirs to ensure prop-er street drainage. They constructed miles of trails to connect neighborhoods to schools, businesses, recreational amenities. They planted trees and shrubs in common areas.
Helping existing business grow and profit:
Palm Coast partnered with the Small Business Development Center of the University of Central Florida as a key hub for free personalized counseling service for our local businesses. Palm Coast's first-of-its-kind Business Assistance Center opened, providing a one-stop location for business planning, account-ing and marketing training, along with assistance navigating regulatory requirements.
Attracting new residents and businesses:
Sports tourism began to roar in Palm Coast as we reached out to hundreds of regional families offering our Indian Trails Sports Complex for soccer, lacrosse, Quidditch and flag football competitive tournaments. Parents and children slept, ate and spent money in our community.
How have things improved?
We're coming full circle. We don't want to be known as the nation's fastest growing community like we were in 2006: we now want to remain as one of the steadiest. As I write this arti-cle in mid-2015, our focus on Prosperity 2021 has resulted in more jobs, higher home values, a robust real estate market and new businesses opening doors in Palm Coast. We're seeing exciting new retail opportunities (the new Island Walk Center will open next year). We're widening roads, renovating parks, building a new City Hall and adding miles to existing trails. Every month, Palm Coast is gaining momentum and realizing economic prosperity.
As we observe our 15th year as a City, we must ponder what may come tomorrow. Our journey continues as we make our future together. Stay tuned.