With the recession now firmly behind us, I can’t think of a better time to live in Dallas, Texas. Great things are happening throughout our city, and the majority of key indicators show that we are headed in the right direction.
Our economy is growing, and as a result, we have added thousands of jobs and experienced a significant reduction in our unemployment rate. The city’s sales tax revenue, home prices and office rental rates are on the rise, our retail vacancy rate is its lowest since 2006, and corporations continue to move their headquarters here.
A $500 million expansion and renovation of Love Field Airport will wrap up just in time for the expiration of the Wright Amendment. Downtown is undergoing a remarkable revitalization, our Arts District is thriving, and we have significant momentum in the southern part of our city for the first time in a long time.
We are primed for continued success in 2014. The NCAA Men’s Final Four will be coming to the region in April. Dallas will be hosting the New Cities Summit and U.S. Conference of Mayors in back-to-back spans in June. And the Facing Race 2014 National Conference will be here in November.
The city showed the best of what it has become in the last 50 years as the international spotlight shined brightly upon Dallas during the recent JFK Commemoration. But, in order to ensure success over the next 50 years and beyond, we must constantly work to reinvent and reimagine our city.
We have a tremendous opportunity on our hands in 2014 to help shape our immediate future as the City Council selects our next city manager and reviews the city charter, which serves as our municipal constitution. Since the city manager is essentially our CEO, it’s imperative that the Council finds the right leader for the job.
A new city manager and updated charter will help us reboot, so to speak, and keep Dallas on the right path. But the real key to more and faster progress in our city is a continued focus on my four initiatives: GrowSouth, Arts & Culture, International Marketing and Education. I look forward to sharing our success in those four areas with you throughout the coming year.
Thank you to everyone who helped make our 2013 accomplishments possible and to those committed to making Dallas a better place to live, work and play for all of us in the years ahead.
Mayor Mike Rawlings