UH Mayor Brennan delivers State of the City address
Despite detours in 2020 caused by the pandemic, University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan reported in his State of the City address that redevelopment is within sight, and more than $2.5 million in federal aid is on the way.
In his virtual address, delivered on March 18, Brennan announced, “Summer is back,” and outlined plans for a parade and summer concert series, and the reopening of the Purvis Park pool.
Brennan noted that the breakneck pace of progress in his first two years as mayor slowed in the third year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our focus shifted nearly exclusively to crisis management, public safety, and survival,” Brennan said. “As a result, our work here is not finished.”
Despite the pandemic, new infill homes are being constructed on once-vacant lots across University Heights. New townhomes are set to be built on South Taylor Road. And slowly, but surely, Phase I of the University Square redevelopment is on track.
In anticipation of worst-case scenarios, University Heights made big budget cuts in 2020. Even with lower tax revenue, last year the city took in nearly $1.2 million more than was spent. “We will make up for that this year,” Brennan said, “as this year’s budget smartly makes much-needed investments in roads and infrastructure, vehicles and equipment.”
Brennan said $2.5 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan will help University Heights reinvest in projects important to residents.
“I will work with city council to direct most of this aid to infrastructure. We need to fix our aging sewers, and resurface the roads that need it the most,” Brennan said. “Capital purchases will be recommended as well, to get us back on schedule for vehicle and equipment replacement.”
Brennan announced that the city pool at Purvis Park will reopen in 2021. Capacity will be limited at the start of the season, and perhaps for the entire season, to allow for social distancing.
A parade will return to University Heights sometime in 2021. Brennan said it will either be a socially distanced parade on Memorial Day, or a traditional parade on July 4, complete with bands and candy throwing. He said a decision will be announced by mid-April.
The UH Summer Concert Series will return in 2021, with a diverse and eclectic lineup featuring Diana Chittester, Aaron Malik, Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band, Old Skool, Böaterhead, and Yiddishe Cup (a.k.a. Funk-a-Deli). The season will kick off on July 1 with a concert by the University Heights Symphonic Band, followed by a showing of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
Mike Cook is the communications and civic engagement coordinator for University Heights.