EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)-Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke presented his 2021 State of the City at Tropicana in front of the Rotary club.
“We are resilient and we still are, but it’s also very personal,” Mayor Winnecke describes Evansville as the city adapted to life during a pandemic all while frontline workers kept serving the community and projects continued.
“There’s going to be pent up demand to do things when the pandemic is over, whenever that is,” Mayor Winnecke explained. “So we’ve kept the Deaconess Aquatic Center going, we’ve kept the Wayne and Beth Kinney Penguins of Patagonia exhibit going so when construction is complete we can go and enjoy them.”
Mayor Winnecke said if construction goes as planned, we can be swimming at the new Deaconess Aquatic Center August 1 and can be feeding the penguins in September. The mayor explained these projects aren’t taking away funding from Evansville’s new water treatment plant which is expected to raise the water rates, if the project is approved.
“In fact there are different sources of revenue that have restrictions on how to be used,” said Mayor Winnecke.
The city is trying to decrease gun violence. This is another topic Mayor Winnecke addressed. Between 2016 and 2020, Evansville police responded to more than 3,880 shots fired calls. So far this year police have responded to 135 of these reports.
“A lot of the youth are more quick to go to using a firearm and it’s becoming more dangerous. The kids are getting bonded out, they have guns, they are shooting at each other. They are getting out quickly,” explained Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin.
The city is partnering with the National Network for Safe Communities to create a Group Violence Intervention Program. This program will help people step away from violence and use their time constructively. Chief Bolin hopes this helps them get to the center of the cause of reoccurring violence.
“We are kind of running into a never ending violence circle of if we can’t figure out how to get these people off the streets, it’s making it more dangerous for those people who live there,” Chief Bolin said.
(This story originally published April 20, 2021)