Vincennes looking forward to the future after State of the City address

VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) – The city of Vincennes has a lot to not only celebrate, but look forward to.

That’s following the mayor’s State of the City address Monday night.

Mayor Joe Yochum started his comments off with praises to the community and people working together. He says 2016 made for a good year for the city with success in several departments.

A few highlights included the success of Rainbow Beach Park, which he said saw about 30,000 guests last year.

Mayor Yochum also mentioned success with the city’s animal shelter, which saw a 15 percent decrease in animal take-in in 2016. He says the shelter is busy raising money to potentially expand and redesign the facility.

The 2nd and Niblack project is slated to begin March 13th. Yochum says the intersection there will be closed as crews work to make improvements on it.

Work to upgrade Four Lakes Park is also in motion. Yochum says the city’s parks department is focusing on completing the parking lots, basketball courts, tennis courts, shelter house as well as a splash pad.

Plans to revitalize the city’s downtown will also continue, as well as efforts for paving and improving sidewalks.

Mayor Yochum announced goals with the city’s blight elimination program. Last year, he said there were hurdles, but they managed to tear down 11 homes in the last year. For 2017, he’s raising that number to 15.

Also during Monday’s address, Mayor Yochum revealed his plans to start a health initiative called “Fitness Fridays” to get the community active. In addition, he’s also planning to begin a youth council to include kids in the local government process.

“I’m kind of excited about that,” he said, “Getting our high school students involved in local government, hopefully let them see how government operates, maybe produce some new council members in the future as well as maybe a mayor.”

Yochum did express concern about funding the city’s fire department. He expressed that the city will have to find different avenues to continue funding that department as well as keep it in the black.

In closing remarks, Mayor Yochum expressed the need for residents to shop local within the area to help the city thrive.