Thursday, June 16, 2022

Mayor delivers first State of the City address

Mayor Robert McCraight
“We're going to find a way,” was the message Romulus Mayor Robert McCraight emphasized during his first State of the City address to an enthusiastic audience June 7 at Romulus High School.

McCraight, who said he is often inspired by quotes from history, repeated Abraham Lincoln's remark. “Determine a thing can and should be done and we shall find a way,” in his address explaining his goals for the city.  

Since taking office, McCraight reported that within the first 60 days as mayor, he attended more than 30 meetings with community partners and local, regional and state elected officials. The meetings were all in an effort to promote Romulus and establish a working and comfortable relationship with other communities. He said many of the meetings, including several at the Mackinac Policy Conference helped promote the regional significance of the city.

“We're on the right track and we're not going to back down,” he said. 

He listed among many accomplishments during his time in office the accreditation of the Romulus Police Department by the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. The Romulus department, he said, is one of only 38 police agencies in the state to have been awarded the distinction which is based on the best and most effective police practices. 

McCraight also mentioned the cross-training of fire and police officers noting that many of them were unaware of policies and procedures in the other departments. He said that now they have shared ideas and that the first responders “can handle emergency situations in the same way.”

McCraight reminded the audience that development at the Romulus Trade Center, a 171-acre, multi-million-dollar investment offering a combination of retail and industrial space is set to begin this year.  He explained that the developers “upgraded the standards” regarding the development in the city and now will add 1,000 jobs in the area along with adding to the tax base.

He said the developer will add three commercial buildings at the site “on their dime” and added retail establishments. “We're hoping those jobs drive the economy,” he said. One of those businesses, a Royal Farms, is the first of the franchise in the state.

He introduced a new team dedicated to controlling and solving blight complaints in the city and said that 88 percent of the blight citations or complaints had been satisfied. “We let owners know we expect a higher standard in this community,” he said. He mentioned that a new owner of the Barrington Apartments is making $4 million in improvements at that building.

McCraight said he and his staff continue to attempt find ways to “fix the roads” in the city. “It's a failing road system,” he said, and said he continues to meet with county and state officials regarding the need for improvements.

“I keep stressing to them that we are the gateway to Michigan. We are the first thing you see when you land (from a plane) in Michigan.”

He said he hopes for a regional partnership to help fund roads and many other infrastructure improvements in the city. He said to date in his first term in office, 14 grants totaling more than $5 million in either grant funds or alternative funding have been requested or applied for by the city.

He mentioned his hope for a new veterans park near the current memorial and the rebuilding of the police headquarters which he described as a deterrent to recruiting new officers. 

McCraight reminded the audience that in 2021, the City of Romulus ended the year with a $9,000 unassigned fund balance, the highest amount in recent history for the community, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. 

He closed his remarks by stressing the importance of community and family, citing the Hometown Heroes program and Person of the Year award winner Carol Bales, whom he said, “provided a blueprint for the next generation.”

He closed his remarks noting his vision for the city remains transparency in all his administration's dealings and a strong sense of community and family.

“Family comes first, make sure they are involved,” he said as he introduced his children, Declan and Dalia, along with his wife, Kendra. Presenting her with flowers, he thanked his wife for her support and patience.