Enduring numerous challenges over the past year, Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen delivered an optimistic appraisal of the city during his State of the City address on Thursday.
Hafen acknowledged the difficulties associated with the recession while highlighting the city's accomplishments.
The mayor focused a great deal of the speech on city projects and accomplishments such as bringing new businesses to the city from out of state.
Hafen specifically mentioned the new water park, Cowabunga Bay, to be built near Gibson Road and the Galleria at Sunset Mall.
Hafen praised the city's efforts to reduce its budget, cutting more than $120 million. Hafen also mentioned the city is maintaining its hiring freeze. Missing from Hafen's speech was any talk of the construction of a sports arena, which the city is currently suing a developer over.
"Obviously we've had a little bit of a hiccup with the sports arena. We're still going to be working on that, and we're going to still want to assure the resident that no money or their tax dollars will go into that project," Hafen told FOX5.
Joe Scala, who plans to run against Hafen in April, said he believes redeveloping Water Street in downtown Henderson should be a priority.
"Let's develop downtown. Let's support the family-operated businesses. They're vested in our community," he said.
Scala was critical of Hafen's decision to hold the State of the City address at Green Valley Ranch rather than a more public setting.
Hafen also spoke about new parks set to open and other projects to be undertaken this year. He was especially proud of the fact that Henderson was named one of the top technologically advanced cities in the United State by the Center for Digital Government.
2013 marks 60 years since Henderson became incorporated. The same year that brought incorporation, 1953, Hafen's father opened OK Tire Store on Water Street, which is now the longest continually licensed business in the city.
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