It has now been another year that I have been on Eastpointe City Council. What a year this sixth year has been. Hopefully your family and friends have been healthy and continue to be.
We hired a new City Manager, Elke Doom. Fortunately, she has been able to continue many projects approved by City Council, even with an active pandemic, including those that are more convenient while there is less traffic on the roads. We of course did not plan ahead for this, but many projects have been completed on City infrastructure this year. We paved streets, the County paved streets, and the State paved streets. And I-94 is planned to be reconstructed in the near future.
In addition to streets, we also replaced the water main on Donald Street, every lead service line between Toepfer and Stephens, and many storm sewers and catch basins. The City is taking seriously its responsibility to rid the water system of lead pipes. It will take some time, but as long as we continue to treat our water, there is no harm to the public.
Body-worn cameras for our police officers have been purchased, and will be implemented by the end of this year. There will be greater transparency between the police department and the citizens of Eastpointe. And we will in turn create a more positive bond between the residents and public safety officials that are sworn to protect those residents.
We have also improved a park in the City. Goetz Park, located just south of Toepfer, on the west side of the City, has been reimagined. The park has gone from a field park to a community park.
Each year the City buys tax foreclosed properties from the county, and we now have a policy in place to handle those properties in a more effective manner. Previously, the City would sell them to the highest bidder. Now, we have a better approach of working with community organizations to rehab them, or rehabbing them on our own.
Throughout the last year we hired a new Economic Development Manager Kim Homan, Building Director Erin Hardcastle, Executive Assistant Otis Gatson, Executive Assistant Mariah Walton, and Public Information Officer Deborah Trotter. Many others were also hired just over a year ago, including our Assistant City Manager Brian Fairbrother, Public Safety Director George Rouhib, and DPW Director Jose Abraham. The team has been great, and continues to push Eastpointe in the right direction.
There have been a couple fights I have lost this year, but overall consider it a successful year. One battle was the resurfacing of four sections of local road. I was advocating that we wait until funding was available to reconstruct (our civil engineer's suggestion, and also the suggestion according to State recommendations), but City Council voted 3-2 in favor of simply resurfacing portions of Holland, Roxana, and Stricker. Also, we sold properties on Kelly without bidding them out. This went against the policy I just previously mentioned, and again was a 3-2 vote.
One especially important fight I won this year, was a fight with a brain aneurysm. I never knew that I had a brain aneurysm, and it ruptured on me the day after Christmas. Our amazing emergency response in Eastpointe saved my life (we also extended our contract with Medstar this year), rushing me to the hospital where the surgeons there coiled the aneurysm successfully, and then spent 14 days there.
I am looking forward to 2021, as I am sure the rest of civilization is. Let's keep our fingers crossed, and continue to make our community a better place!