Mayor Ronnie Williams’ delivered his State of the Town address Tuesday night highlighting some of the ways the town has spent bond money, and signifying that Garner will continue to change in the near future.
“There will be many new additions to our town,” Williams said in a pre-recorded video played at the town council meeting. “But we will strive to retain Garner’s essential character – the community spirit and hometown feel that make Garner special. And we will do this by working with our service partners, with our local businesses, and most important, with you, our citizens.”
In 2013, voters approved four bond referendums authorizing the town to issue $35.7 million in general obligation bonds. Those bonds were to build a new recreation center, town hall, police station, dog parks, make road and sidewalk improvements and to buy land.
Both the police station and a dog park have started construction and are expected to be finished this year. The town has begun planning and design work for the new indoor recreation center in downtown and a new town hall. The two are expected to be finished in the following years. Some sidewalks have also been improved.
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“Yes, these are exciting times in Garner, and I am here to tell you that the best is yet to come,” he said. “Some of those projects have been talked about for decades – now they are becoming real.”
He also mentioned Cabela’s, an outdoor mega store, which will be across U.S. 70 Business from White Oak Shopping Center. It will also be the first Cabela’s in the state and is expected to bring people traveling from nearby states. What will follow will be restaurants, a hotel, more retail stores and traffic.
“All of these projects, all of this investment in our infrastructure, all of the private investment that will follow – these will form the core of an impressive story of growth and progress,” Williams said.
“And yet, we must never lose sight of what makes Garner such a great place to be – its people, its history, its unrivaled community spirit.”
The Garner Economic Development Corporation is currently marketing the former ConAgra site, now named the Garner Technology Center, in hopes that it will entice a biotechnology company, which will bring higher-paying jobs. The site is 98 acres with an incentive package worth millions of dollars, Williams said in his speech.
“We are looking forward to seeing this site redeveloped by a company or companies that bring good jobs to our community and bolster our tax base,” he said.
Williams credited residents and servicemen for making Garner an All-America City in 2013.
“Together, we will make Garner an even greater place to be, and we will continue to embody those values that make Garner an All-America City,” Williams said.