Calling it a “day of celebration,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle reeled off a list of successes the city accomplished over the last few years.
“What started 10 years ago began as a vision,” he said. “Then a plan.”
“You are the reason we are stronger then ever,” he told the audience of some 1,200 people at Tuesday’s annual State of the City Address in the Von Braun Center North Hall. It was the largest crowd at a Huntsville Chamber event.
The mayor cited the city’s population growth, which is twice the national rate; and some 25,000 jobs created since 2010 – “We lead the state in job creation.”
Not to mention, the domestic GDP is up 15 percent, fueled by major economic development. Included in the development are major companies moving here: Mazda-Toyota; Google; Facebook; General Electric; Blue Origin, among others.
“There’s no better time to live in Huntsville, Alabama,” Battle said.
Huntsville has had a Triple-A bond rating for 10 straight years; 91 percent of the children attend Huntsville City Schools; Cummings Research Park – “a shining example of public-private partnership”- has a 91 percent occupancy rate; Redstone Arsenal is continuing to grow as it adds more agencies and provides some $50 billion in spending.
“We’re not just growing as an economy,” Battle said. “We’re growing opportunity.”
And the city is not resting on the laurels of those successes.
Tapped to be the largest city in the state within the next decade, Huntsville needs to stay at the economic forefront to “stay relevant to the future,” Battle said.
“The next five to 10 years are taken care of,” he said. “Our job is to take care of the next 15, 20, 30 years.
“We are making sure we’re not the community left behind.”
The mayor said the city’s task is to find the new, emerging markets.
“Pushing the edge is what Huntsville does … we’ve always been the innovators and creators.”
And he closed on an optimistic note that was greeted with a standing ovation:
“Huntsville’s future as the ‘Star of Alabama’ is brighter than ever.”