In past years, Mayor Carolyn Kirk has taken her annual “State of the City” updates to a variety of locations — from the Magnolia Library and Community Center to the Rocky Neck Gallery and the Community Center in Lanesville.
This year, she is combining all of those efforts into a single State of the City presentation set for tonight at 7 at City Hall’s Kyrouz Auditorium. And — while there may be a need to schedule another one, at the same site, if the crowd and a flood of questions persist — that’s a good idea. By hosting a single event at City Hall, Kirk has ensured that all of the key city department heads will be on hand, and that indeed should ensure that residents who have questions about the city and its direction will be able to get the expertise their questions need.
But while Kirk suggested the State of the City presentations are something of a “tease” to update residents on the many projects and advancements the city has carried out and still has in the works, she should also be prepared to answer hard questions about how the city can address the matter of closed fire stations over the long haul, how any hopes and plans may have changed over development of the city-owned I-4, C-2 property, why school and some city officials are pushing for a new West Gloucester school without any referendum or any other true measure of public support, and why any such school, at this point, will seemingly only address the needs of West Parish parents and students, not the city as a whole.
These State of the City sessions can be helpful, both in giving residents the chance to pose legitimate questions to their elected and appointed officials, and in giving the mayor and other officials the chance to get public input and feedback.
Let’s hope tonight’s event draws the 100 or more people that Kirk is expecting; it’s worth the effort, on all sides.