In his tenth State of the City address, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight made the health of the community and how it impacts economic growth, along with perceived versus real risk, the center of his annual speech.
Recognizing the difference between perceived risk (like a violent crime or fire) versus a real risk (like traffic accidents, heart disease or diabetes) is important.
Ensuring the public’s safety and well-being is the top priority, according to Mayor Goodnight.
“The evidence is clear that the best way to do this is to focus on building a healthy community,” Mayor Goodnight said.
“A mayor’s number one job is ensuring the public’s safety,” Goodnight said. “Public safety is so important that we must look well beyond how a city normally thinks about this issue. We have made it the mission of our administration to see the complete picture.”
“Part of the keeping the public healthy and safe is creating a built environment that promotes a healthy lifestyle,” Mayor Goodnight offered.
“(In 2017), we will continue to do the things that make Kokomo a great place to live,” said Mayor Goodnight. “(That means) cleaning up Wildcat Creek, improving our parks and trails, addressing long-term flood mitigation, continuing aggressive code enforcement, and improving overall quality of place.”
Goodnight pointed to a statement he commonly quotes from Ball State Economist Michael Hicks that quality of place “holds the only hope for broad economic growth.”
Changing the built environment through smart street design is a vital step, according to Mayor Goodnight.
“Thankfully, now more and more cities and their leaders across the State and Country are beginning to see how our own built environment is affecting the public health of their citizens,” Mayor Goodnight said. “And that health habits are a function of strategic urban design. In short, your zip code can have far more bearing on your health than your genetics.”
Mayor Goodnight also addressed the impact of 2016’s August Tornado as well as the impact of the civil rights ordinance that was signed last year.
“Now, nearly a year after its (LGBT ordinance) signing, the dire warnings from the fear mongers never came true, including the imaginary bathroom boogieman,” Mayor Goodnight said. “To this day, our Human Rights Commission has not received a single LGBT-related complaint. This is a true reflection of the integrity, compassion, and decency of our local business management, and owners.”
2017 State of the City Address - Full Text