The State of the City of Portland (Aim Ideas Summit 2017)- 5:00
with Mayor Randy Geesaman, City of Portland
Posted Nov 01, 2017
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A special production of Comcast Newsmakers from the Accelerated Indiana Municipalities Idea Summit at the Old National Events Center in Evansville, Indiana. The annual summit features local officials from across the state as they visit together in exchange of development ideas, economic success and needs.
This segment highlights the City of Portland by Mayor Randy Geesaman.
Bennett: Quality of life seems to be a topic for a lot of communities. What is Portland doing when it comes to quality of life for residents?
Geesaman: The number one thing we started two years ago is a brand new water park. It was a huge success with 288 donors. We want to take that further along and what can we do that will attract people to the downtown area. We need to get some new businesses in there and some incubator programs. We've got some great ideas.
Bennett: When you are looking at downtown revitalization and this plan that you were presented, what were some of the things you liked.
Geesaman: Yes, well first of all you want to have cultural loops and gathering places for people. We've always had great entertainment at the fairgrounds but how can we get them to migrate downtown. With the chamber we'll have somethings after hours to the downtown area. Initial response have been good.
Bennett: Also when you talk about quality of life, what about jobs?
Geesaman: We have a tremendous manufacturing base in our community. We have so many job openings and people from out of town that work in Portland. We have the opportunities and every industry has bumped the pay up from the low employment rate. Not just labor force but high skill jobs are needed.
Bennett: How do you go about filling those/
Geesaman: They have reached out to out-of-state areas. We have something coming up called Shop Jay County. We promote our actual business community and that's been helping.
Bennett: You talked about the water park, that went over really well.
Geesaman: You know the great headline in the first year was: "Old pool averaged $29-30 thousand in the red and new water park $8 thousand to the black". We had 33,000 visitors this first year and we repeated that again this year.
Bennett: It all goes back to that quality of life and people have a gathering place that supports the community.
Geesaman: Yea, you can be a community that is dying or stagnant or you can be a community that is moving forward. I was in sales for 33 years and I've taken that approach with me.
Bennett: What else would you like to see.
Geesaman: We encourage people to go on our website and send us e-mails and questions and we'll be glad to reach out to you.