Hundreds of people packed the Crowne Plaza Ravinia Hotel for the seventh annual Dunwoody State of the City, this year given by Mayor Denis Shortal.
“We’re a family,” Shortal said of Dunwoody’s residents, adding that he is here to serve the residents and not himself.
Some key points from Shortal’s speech:
• The city has 82 volunteers serving on boards and committees. “You can’t talk about our city without talking about our volunteers. That’s what makes our city special,” Shortal said.
• “We have to make sure we are fiscally prudent … to ensure long-term financial stability for our city,” Shortal said.
• The city’s 2016 paving budget is essentially the same as 2010, Shortal said. “On March 14 I’m going to ask the council to add an additional quarter million dollars for our paving budget,” he said. The city is also receiving another $100,000 in state and federal funding to go toward paving, he added. Ten miles of sidewalks have also been paved since the city was founded.
• The I-285/400 project by the Georgia Department of Transportation and State Road and Tollway Authority is expected to break ground in late 2016 or perhaps early 2017, Shortal said. The 48- to 51-month project will cause traffic inconvenience, Shortal said, but will ease congestion in the long term.
• On the controversial Brook Run Theater proposal, Shortal said he supported renovating the building in the park now for a community theater and meeting space and his statement was greeted with applause. Shortal added that the perhaps $20 million project would need to be funded by a “massive amount of private funding” — perhaps up to 90 percent. “We’ll see what happens with that.”
• The city’s commercial occupancy is now 87 percent when just five years ago it was approximately 60 percent. “We need to protect our residential area with buffering. We continue to say we are a residential community that is business friendly.”
• Shortal closed with by recalling John F. Kennedy, saying, “Tonight, my fellow citizens of Dunwoody, ask not what your city can do for you, but what you can do for your city.”
The event was hosted by the city of Dunwoody and the Rotary Club of Dunwoody. A cocktail hour with heavy hors d’oeuvre preceded the mayor’s address.
Rotary Club President Lorri Christopher welcomed residents and dignitaries to the event.
City Manager Eric Linton honored Municipal Court Clerk Norlaundra Huntington for her hard work and contributions as a city employee.
Sustainability Committee member Kevin Sok presented Tina Wilkinson with the City of Dunwoody’s Sustainable Hero Award for 2015.
Georgia State University student Anjolic Sky sang the National Anthem.