MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Paving, police and private development were all big themes in Monday night’s State of the City address by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.
The mayor's new motto is "Memphis Has Momentum.”
However, his speech at "The Links" in Whitehaven also focused on another motto he's had since taking office: "Being brilliant at the basics.”
“Our best long-term solution to make our roads smoother isn't rocket science,” Mayor Strickland said. “It's simply paving more streets.”
You can watch the full address in the video below.
Monday night’s state of city address held in Whitehaven, a community happy to hear the good news about street paving.
Construction on Elvis Presley Boulevard will begin this Spring.
However, this community and every other community in this city is worried about another issue: crime.
Mayor Strickland's 35-minute speech Monday night focused heavily on public safety such as hiring more police officers with a plan to reach 2,100 officers by the end of the year and lowering the rate of crimes committed by juveniles.
“We've got to reduce juvenile crime and that's why we're doing so much for juveniles now, more summer jobs, more in our community center, more in our libraries to give working people something to do,” Mayor Strickland said.
Mayor Strickland certainly sounded like a man seeking four more years in office after announcing his re-election bid just two weeks ago.
He said economic development such as Union Row is just another example the city is moving in the right direction.
“I think the next 10 years will be the best 10 years Memphis has ever seen,” said Memphis City Council Chairman Kemp Conrad.
While statistics show the city still has a way to go before reaching its target of 2,300 police officers by 2020, there has been progress.
Not only did the city hire more officers last year than the amount who left, violent crime also fell by six percent.
A couple of weeks ago, Strickland said why the issue remains his biggest focus.
"I think when I ran three years, four years ago, I was really concerned we were at this tipping point where if we continued to lose police officers and not take violent crimes seriously, we could really go down long term," Strickland said.
WMC political analyst Michael Nelson said this speech served as good kick-off for his campaign, highlighting the city’s accomplishments.
“I think we can expect is him to return to the theme he got elected on brilliant at the basics,” Nelson said. “Talk about increase in police force and more streets being paved and so on and in his motto going into this campaign, ‘Memphis has momentum,’ and talking about how the city has improved economically.”