One and a half years in office in Portage has brought a whirlwind of changes, challenges and successes. It's hard to believe now with what we faced that we could have come so far already. If you listened to all of the grass clipping conjecture, you would think Portage was buried in a mound of it.
The Portage Sanitation Department literally modernized city sanitation services in less than 60 days. We didn't even have time for our new trucks to get here and help with the automation.
Thankfully, the trucks arrived in July, and we are now beginning to reposition workers in various places left open through early retirements and the controversial hiring freeze. This will free up hundreds of thousands of dollars we desperately need for our city's infrastructure.
Panda Express, Texas Roadhouse, Fronius, Meier’s, Walgreens, Fifth Third Bank, McDonalds, Shays Furniture, Firehouse Subs and more opened their doors, and The Belmont, Green Sense Farms, Pet Supplies Plus, House of Pancakes and Family Express are under construction. More large manufacturers representing more jobs are looking at Portage daily as a place to invest their future.
Former dilapidated buildings like the old Portage Yacht Club, Castaway Motel and Don's Motel and Mobile Home Park are either torn down or demolition is underway. This U.S. 20 restoration is paving the way for new jobs for residents where jobs couldn't exist before.
Beautiful Woodland Park now has an elevator, something our seniors asked for for years, and its aged fountain has been restored. Countryside Park's barn has been painted, a fountain is being installed in the pond, and flooding playgrounds have had drainage added. It's hard to forget visiting Olson Park after a resident's Facebook post and seeing ducks swimming under the swingset.
City Hall no longer leaks, and it will soon no longer rain and snow through the windows. Potential Portage businesses will see professionalism they can count on as they choose where to locate their jobs.
Portage's progress is something for which all of us can be grateful. The old hymn says, "Count your many blessings, name them one by one." Despite the challenges, we truly have much for which we can be grateful.