Welcome to our live blog related to Mayor McClure’s “State of the City” address. The live feed is below, with our notes below the video.
The event is being held at Evangel University.
The Chamber is doing their preliminary introductions and thank you of event sponsors before they turn the event over to Mayor McClure.
Just before 8 a.m., the Mayor is being introduced.
“I am very blessed to be the Mayor of Springfield,” McClure began in his speech.
“There has never been a better time in Springfield,” McClure said. “Right here. Right now.”
The Mayor is now talking about the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. He is speaking about late Councilman Ralph Manley and his actions during D-Day.
“A man of never ending optimism, who always looked for the good in people,” McClure said. “It is up to all of us to carry on his legacy of service and hope.”
The Mayor is honoring those in attendance who have served in the nation’s armed forces.
“Our city is teeming with more than 50,000 college students,” McClure said. “Think about that. Fifty thousand plus students seek to advance their education in Springfield…the result is an energy. Right here, right now.”
“Springfield sets the gold standard for higher learning.”
The mayor said that the city and business community needs to provide opportunities for all young people in the community, regardless of whether or not they seek higher education.
“We have a level of pride that helps us elevate over other cities,” McClure said.
The mayor said that one in four kindergarteners arrive at Springfield Public Schools are not ready to learn and that one of the things that benefits our city is making sure students are prepared to learn when they come to school.
The Mayor there is an “excellent relationship” with the Greene County Commission and is recognizing them.
The Mayor is talking about the recent Council retreat and the Council’s plans for the next two years including fiscal responsibility and public service. (Read our coverage of the retreat here.)
He notes “quality of place” came up in the meeting and he is addressing how quality of life is “grown and maintained” in the city.
“If I have seen further, it’s because I stood on the shoulders of giants,” McClure said in reference to people who worked on the Vision 20/20 plan.
He said that quality of place is important to business because it draws in talented employees and keeps students who come here for an education wanting to stay and be a part of the community.
“We have a vibrant arts scene,” McClure said. “And the people are just so talented. We have so many dreamers in our community.”
McClure is now talking about Ozark Greenways and the trails, and how having those trails enhances a community. He’s speaking of a recent trip by the Council to see how trails can enhance economic development through connectivity.
“Trails offer something to everyone regardless of age or ability.”
The Mayor is saluting the success this season by our area’s college and high school basketball teams.
“I think the city’s motto should be ‘the Granddaddy of Basketball,” the mayor joked to laughs and applause.
“Families like the Cooper make up the very fabric of Springfield and there generosity benefits all of us,” the Mayor said in reference to the late Harry Cooper and his family in regards to the Springfield Lasers tennis team.
“Springfieldians love their baseball,” McClure said in reference to the Springfield Cardinals. “Just like baseball, life will throw us curveballs, and we may get beaned even if we step up or not. But we have to just keep going.”
He thanked Johnny Morris for the Wonders of Wildlife and what it contributes to the community.
He is talking about a trip to a visit to Robberson Community School and how kids role played different careers during his visit.
He was then interrupted by Rowan, a student at the school who interacted with the Mayor during the event. He had said he wanted to be a journalist during the Mayor’s visit, and the Mayor asked if Roland still wanted to be one; Roland said that he wanted to be the Mayor now.
“But when I become Mayor, can I get paid for it?” Rowan said, drawing laughs from the crowd.
“The state of our city is very strong,” the mayor said. “Several economic indicators are showing upward trends which shows our local economy is strong.”
The mayor is now addressing the high poverty rate.
He said multiple local organization is helping make huge strides “against the barriers” that keep people from economic prosperity.
The mayor said “there is a skills gap” in the community, noting many open jobs available in the city.
The mayor is talking about Change One Thousand, Build My Future and other programs that are providing opportunities for people to train into available jobs.
He’s speaking about expansion by Positronic and other new jobs and capital investments by established businesses in the community.
“We must have the place that attracts people and the jobs will follow the people,” the Mayor said.
The Mayor said the community needs to be inclusive, “with an atmosphere that welcomes all people.”
“We will have a unique opportunity to celebrate this fall over 7,500 people who call Springfield home,” McClure said. He is speaking of an event this fall hosted by Life360 church on Commercial Street that will salute the different cultures that make up Springfield.
The Mayor said the African American Heritage Trail has the first markers in place and the city has secured funding for the next round of markers.
“Trail development, including a multimedia map, will come this year,” the mayor said.
The mayor is now talking about the Council’s increased efforts to address city issues with state legislators.
“I am so pleased that the state of Missouri’s spending on education included $10 million more for Missouri State,” the Mayor said, “Along with OTC’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing.”
“Both MSU and OTC have had the lowest funding per student in the state,” McClure said. “There’s still work to be done at the OTC funding level but every bit helps.”
The mayor is speaking about the prescription drug monitoring program and says it needs to be done statewide, noting Missouri is the only state in the nation that doesn’t have one.
He is also calling for the state legislature to add an internet sales tax, saying local businesses need to have a level playing field. He also called for action against short-term lenders and the high interest they charge to customers.
“Springfield continues to be a smart city,” the Mayor said. “We are fortunate for having a tradition of being…forward thinking.”
He noted the city still has second highest available credit rating with Moody’s.
“Moody’s recognizes the city has a light debt burden,” the Mayor said.
“A city cannot survive if the citizens don’t feel safe,” the mayor said.
He referred to past days when kids could play in the street “until the street lights came on” but notes that as “we grew up, so did our city.” He said that law enforcement needs to be flexible to meet new challenges.
He said that attention needs to be paid to issues like mental health, drug abuse and unsafe living conditions.
“No one deserves to live in uninhabitable or unsafe living conditions,” McClure said. “Springfield is better than this.”
He spoke of hiring new domestic violence investigators and noted the police department’s community policing efforts, and the ways they’ve worked with community groups to provide safety training.
“[Councilwoman Ferguson] should be commended for her efforts in forming the Sexual Assault Task Force that will advise the police department…and city staff,” the Mayor said. “Thank you to Phyllis and members of the sexual assault task force.”
The Mayor is honoring the leadership of the police department.
“The citizens of Springfield should be proud of their police department and the men and women who wear the badge,” McClure said.
The mayor is now honoring the fire department, noting their accreditation by the Commision for Fire Accreditation International.
The mayor is thanking voters for progress on the police/fire pension fund, noting the pension is at 86 percent and says that city council will likely have to put the issue back in front of the voters for renewal “in the near future.”
“We have our challenges,” McClure said. “but we have dedicated people who want to make Springfield more than a mid-sized city in a mid-sized state in the middle of the country.”
“We will work hand in hand to become the city to which we aspire,” McClure said.
“We want Springfield to be the most vibrant metropolitan area in Missouri and the midwest where business and families thrive,” McClure said.
“We must develop a sense of pride in a place we call home,” McClure said.
He’s talking about the city’s logo and the heart in the middle and how it “encourages all of us” to work together.
“Together we can make sure Springfield is a thriving, vibrant community for all citizens for years,” McClure said.
The video should be available for replay. Thanks for joining our live coverage this morning!