AUDIO: Mayor Makes Case For Lawrenceburg’s Greatness
By Mike Perleberg
Lawrenceburg Mayor Kelly Mollaun delivers his 2018 State of the City address on Friday, February 9. Photo by Mike Perleberg, Eagle Country 99.3.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Lawrenceburg has a lot to look forward to, Mayor Kelly Mollaun told citizens during his 2018 State of the City address.
Speaking to a room full of city employees, department heads, family and constituents, the first term Republican mayor detailed the progress his administration has made in just two years. He also gave citizens a lot to be excited about.
One of the most anticipated developments is cheap, super-high speed internet to be made available to every residence in the city limits. Lawrenceburg Municipal Utilities is establishing fiber internet service as part of a new city utility. The fiber line, Mollaun said, will be about 20 times faster than regular cable internet.
The mayor said it would also be available at a lower price than cable. Free basic wireless internet will be accessible by residents in the fiber loop, he added.
“It’s going to take us places we never dreamed of,” Mollaun said, crediting LMU director Olin Clawson for leading the fiber effort.
The mayor’s speech centered on three themes: economic development, education, and quality of life.
On the economic front, the city added 11 new businesses in the downtown district in 2017.
Those business could soon have more customers. A new 150 unit apartment development has been proposed by Indianapolis-based developer Flaherty & Collins. The development, still subject to city approval, would be located on the levee along West High Street overlooking the Ohio River. Another developer has approached the city with a proposal to construct a new senior housing complex on Maple Street.
“We’ve been fortunate through hard work and new programs to lure and entice people to come downtown,” Mollaun said.
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Although Lawrenceburg is flush with cash thanks to its local development agreement with Hollywood Casino, Mollaun says he has lived up to his campaign pledge to runt he city as a business. Part of that has been his administration’s pursuit of $2.5 million in grants. Even though Lawrenceburg has a healthy revenue stream from casino gaming, the city has been awarded about $1 million in grants in the past two years.
Those grants include $360,000 for a renovation of the Dearborn Adult Center to take place this year. The city has received about $674,000 in Community Crossings grants from the State of Indiana for road infrastructure projects.
“If you don’t ask, you’re never going to get it,” said Mollaun.
Mollaun then pivoted to the education theme. He pointed to the scholarship fund established by late former mayor Paul Tremain. The mayor, Dearborn Community Foundation, and Lawrenceburg Community Schools have moved to allow students and Lawrenceburg High School to use the scholarship funds to help pay for early college through the Vincennes University program at the school.
“I’m so thankful that Mr. Tremain has the foresight to get something like that started,” the former school board member said.
The city has also helped school families by supplying $350,000 for books. An annual distribution of $750,000 for Dearborn County’s three school corporations “has helped start and sustain a lot of programs in our school systems.” Mollaun does not anticipate the programs going away as long as the city can afford to give.
In addition to the fiber line internet service, Mollaun pointed to a new civic park to be built at the Music on the River lot on East High Street as a quality of life improvement for citizens. Construction on the $6 million park will begin soon, he said. The park will have a stage, grass, shade trees, and a water feature. It will be capable of hosting concerts, weddings, and community events.
“We’re investing in our future to make downtown a place where everybody wants to come.
The mayor concluded by updating citizens on the proposed Fourth Port. The former Tanners Creek Power Plant site and its 770 surrounding acres have been identified as a possible location of the fourth port established by Ports of Indiana.
Citing the existing three ports in the state and their $4 billion in annual economic impact, Mollaun said a port in Lawrenceburg would be a “generational economic driver.”
But he and other local leaders say there are concerns with such a monster development. At the top of the mayor’s list of concerns is traffic.
“We are working hard with INDOT and the governor’s office to curb the traffic situation,” Mollaun said.
Lawrenceburg has also taken steps – and is planning more – to address the opioid crisis. The drug battle is one that has touched Mollaun personally. He lost a nephew to drug abuse last year.
“We’re not just sitting on our hands and doing nothing,” he said, adding that the city saw two overdoses just yesterday.
Last year, the city introduced its Quick Response Team, which sends local first responders to meet with drug overdose victims and their families in hopes of getting them into treatment. Neighboring Greendale has added a QRT, and now Batesville is relying on Lawrenceburg for guidance in establishing its own.
City leaders are also meeting with nearly four-dozen stakeholders about the possible establishment of a drug treatment facility in southeastern Indiana. A consultant is completing an analysis of what courses of action may be address the problem.
The mayor concluded, “we’re trying to ensure a stable future for Lawrenceburg… We are truly a city on the rise and being noticed.”
Other highlights of Mayor Kelly Mollaun’s 2018 State of the City address:
-The city is investing $8 million over the next three years on new equipment for city employees to serve the public.
-A network of about 160 security cameras are being installed at public spaces and buildings throughout the city to make the city safer.
-A new data center will help make the city a “smart city,” a designation enjoyed by few cities of Lawrenceburg’s size.
-Major events planned in the city in 2018 include the third annual powerboat regatta in June, bicycle races in July, 13 weeks of Lawrenceburg Main Street’s Music on the River free concerts, and the increasingly popular Lawrenceburg Fall Fest.
-The River Cities Bike Share program debuted in 2017. There were 1,100 rentals generating $4,000 in revenue for the program in Lawrenceburg alone, the mayor claimed.