Demographics, economy discussed at Longview State of City address
LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Longview Mayor Andy Mack delivered the annual State of The City Address in Longview saying things are looking up with new industries coming in and tax revenues on the increase. And to make the address a little different, the mayor made each table in the audience a city council who voted on topics in his speech.
Mayor Mack stepped out from behind the podium and interacted with attendees in hopes of making his State of the City address a little more memorable and to, “Let them see what it’s like to have to make decisions that affect the entire city not just the little area where you live and to see what it’s like to have to coordinate with other people and get opinions and see how it turns out,” Mack said.
Each table voted in a mayor and became council members. He asked if the councils would rather see Longview geared towards retirement, young families, industry, arts or parks. The majority voted on industry, but it was kind of a trick question.
“You know what my choice is as your current mayor? I want all of them,” Mack said.
Mack said all those areas have seen improvement, which helps his main goal of seeing young people return to Longview.
“We have amazing complexes for athletics. We have amazing complexes for industry. We have it all,” Mack said.
He said the median age of Longview residents was previously in their forties, but it has now dropped to around 35 years old.
Another topic was I-20 development. Should it be corporate, entertainment, business, manufacturing, or retail? It was a split table vote but Mack says the proposed amphitheater might develop all of that.
“We could have a thirty-something million-dollar amphitheater and not spend one dime on maintenance and operation. But here’s what the amphitheater does on I-20: it’s going to cause a lightning strike. What does a lightning strike do? It makes things explode,” Mack said.
He said it did in Rogers, Arkansas and they pull in:
“A million dollars per month the months of May through October, the amphitheater is open, because of the amphitheater,” Mack said.
Mack says future development of the city is limited in the north because of Tryon Water Supply, in the west because of the city of White Oak and to the east but:
“We do have areas where we can grow and develop, especially to the south,” Mack said.
He talked about parks development over the last year and the near completion of the 10-mile trail, and as far as restaurants and hotels:
“We don’t get to choose the restaurants, gang. We don’t get to choose the hotels that come here. That’s just not what we do. But we make it as easy as we can once they’ve made that decision to come here and that’s our job,” Mack said.
And he said the “table councils” were to show what it’s like:
“To sit in these positions and have to make decisions for the future of Longview,” Mack said.
He adds that if the city is only looking at the now, they are already way behind.
This was Mayor Mack’s seventh state of the city address.
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