DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — According to Mayor Tab Bowling, things are going very well for the City of Decatur.

Mayor Bowling sat alongside City Council President Jacob Ladner, and Council Member Kyle Dukes Pike during the 2023 State of the City on Wednesday. The event was hosted by the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.

This year, rather than giving an address, the State of the City was handled as a panel. A moderator asked questions and city leaders responded.

From left to right: moderator Wade Weaver, Mayor Tab Bowling, Council President Jacob Ladner, Council Member Kyle Dukes Pike.

When asked what the most “critical need” for the city is, Mayor Bowling responded with “a bridge over the river.”

Bowling is referring to the construction of a new bridge over the Tennessee River to ease traffic in and out of Decatur. He said the city is currently conducting a bridge study. The results from that study are expected by October which will let them know the best place to build it.

“We’re going to find out where that primary route is, and then some alternate routes,” Bowling said.

Another big focus of the State of the City was keeping people informed on City spending.

Bowling says Decatur is in a great financial position and is operating with an $80 million general fund budget. He said that is significantly higher than in years past, and reflects the level of growth the city has experienced.

City leaders say recreation projects are a big focus for Decatur.

On April 18, the City Council approved a $35 million municipal bond.

That coupled with $42 million from the settlement with $3 million to replace the Aqua dome and softball/baseball fields, will go towards upcoming recreation projects, totaling $77 million.

“We’re excited about building a state-of-the-art $55 million recreation center,” Bowling said.

The new recreation center will be built at Wilson Morgan Park.

“Wilson Morgan is really a great spot for that, it’s really centrally located from anywhere in town,” said Council Member, Kyle Dukes Pike.

About $7 million of the $77 million will be spent on upgrades at Point Mallard.

“The mayor has now started playing Pickleball, so we will have a state-of-the-art pickleball facility coming,” said Council President, Jacob Ladner. Money will also be spent on upgrades to the tennis facility there.

The rest of the funding will be spent on the new baseball and softball complex as well as an event center at the old ice rink.

Ladner said Decatur used to have a clear focus on recreation. He expects it is headed back in that direction.

“After yesterday, you can see we have a priority on recreation, and that’s exciting to see,” Ladner said.

The upcoming development at Ingalls Harbor were highlighted in the panel.