MERIDIAN, Idaho —
Meridian Mayor Simison gave his third State of the City Address Wednesday afternoon in the Galaxy Event Center at Wahooz.
The address focused on the successes, challenges and priorities currently facing Meridian. The Meridian Chamber of Commerce hosted the event.
"Meridian is a thriving community and one that welcomes new business and helps existing businesses grow," Sean Evans, President and CEO of the Meridian Chamber of Commerce, said. "Much of this is due to the relationship the city, and specifically the Mayor's Office, has with the local business community. We look forward to once again providing the platform for the mayor to share his vision."
Mayor Simison also focused on how Meridian will continue efforts in providing services and meeting demands while aiming to become one of the West's premier communities to live, work and raise a family in.
The address emphasized the importance of infrastructure, community partnerships, public safety, and keeping Idaho unified in its values.
"In Meridian, we are committed to investing in the infrastructure to enhance our quality of life, supporting public safety, protecting our general welfare and civil liberties," said Mayor Simison. He added there also needs to be more improvements to transportation.
"We continue to see progress as our development and agency partners work to deliver projects in the community," Simison said.
He noted in the last year the city has seen upgrades to Eagle road, from Amity to Victory Road and the expansion of Chinden Road, with one more segment Locust Grove to Meridian still to do. However, the construction of the Linder Road Overpass is one of his and the city's top priorities.
"Local partners have identified a return on investment (ROI) that will keep costs of services low as travel times is reduced," Simison said. "Linder Road Overpass will also bring properties North of the interstate, including Peregrine Elementary school into the five-minute emergency response time."
Other projects on the way are the construction of Highway 16 which will Connect I-84 and the additional lane on Eagle Road, South from River Valley all the way to the interstate.
"More capacity is needed and this project continues the improvements to this area through development efforts under the successful STARs (Sales Tax Anticipation Revenue) program the centercal has been doing," Simison said.
Mayor Simison is also looking at improving safety on the roads, specifically Eagle Road. He said with the speed limit at 55 MPH, the road feels like "a race track." He is calling on local businesses and transportation agencies to help find a solution.
"Why must this road be driven at 55 miles per hour in Meridian, when it has the busiest intersections in the state with the highest traffic volume?" Simison said.
In addition to transportation and road improvements, the city is focusing on growth in other areas. Mayor Simison said the city is looking at a possible rate increase for the water and services. They also have plans to add 50 new positions which will go to the two new fire stations, a new police precinct and help with the water and sewer services.
"I believe in Meridian, this team, and where we are headed in the coming years." said Mayor Robert Simison.
Mayor Simison also spoke out about the Uvalde elementary school shooting last week. He stated that he has proposed six more SROs who will be dedicated to Meridian elementary schools.
“The events of Texas last week were horrific, and my heart goes out to the grieving families. As a parent, the thought of this is unimaginable. We send our children to school every day to learn and grow, but more and more they are being put in a position to be aware of the violence that could exist. Safety is our number one priority in Meridian and work is being done with our law enforcement and the school district, but we need to do more now. In order to keep all our students as safe as possible, I’m proposing we hire six school resource officers for West Ada elementary schools in Meridian. This will be a dedicated SRO program for our elementary schools. These additional officers will allow our current SROs to stay focused on their efforts in high schools and middle schools, while bringing resources to our most vulnerable youth,” Mayor Simison said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the City of Meridian ranked 13th among the fastest-growing cities of 50,000 residents or more across the country.
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