Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese to deliver first State of the City address at Lerner

March 16, 2016

After spending his first three months settling down in City Hall and getting to know his constituents, Elkhart Mayor Tim Neesewill spend an evening with the public discussing how things are going and how he wants them to go in the future.

Neese will deliver his inaugural State of the City address at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Lerner Theatre, located at 410 S. Main St. The speech, which the public is encouraged to attend, is expected to last about 30 minutes. If you can’t make it, the speech will be streamed live on The Elkhart Truth’s website.

The speech will detail the city’s expenditures in 2015 and cash balance at the end of the year and will also highlight the work of the city’s various departments, said Courtney Bearsch, Elkhart’s director of communications.

One topic Neese will likely touch on is the success of the Lerner — where the speech will take place — in bringing visitors to downtown Elkhart. The theater attracted an estimated 100,000 visitors in 2015, bringing the post-grand opening visitor count to 485,000, Bearsch said. That means that nearly 270 people have visited downtown Elkhart per day as a result of the Lerner’s presence.

Neese will also outline his priorities moving forward, which are: public safety, economic development, improving quality-of-place and increasing accountability and efficiency of city services.

Since he was sworn in on Jan. 1, Neese has already conducted several town hall meetings. Dozens of residents attended each one to discuss ideas about how improve Elkhart, ranging from park improvements to changing up parking downtown.

Neese has also spent recently spent his afternoon answering questions from readers of The Elkhart Truth during a lunchtime live chats.