HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber hosted the State of the City Address with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle on Tuesday afternoon.
Mayor Battle, who is in his 14th term, discussed the city’s achievements and his vision for the future in Huntsville.
This address comes six months after Huntsville was named the No. 1 best place to live by U.S. News and World Report and after Huntsville was recognized as the fastest-growing major metro area in Alabama.
Mayor Battle went on to say that on top of these honors, Huntsville is still growing. The city gets about 460 new residents each month, which averages out to about 4,500 a year. He also highlighted the 24% growth in employment in the Huntsville area in the past 12 years.
He stated the city had about 3.7 million visitors in the last year which provided an economic boost of $1.7 billion and sustained 21,000 hospitality jobs.
The growth of the city is fueling residential, commercial, and industrial construction and has earned $1.5 billion over the last year and over $7 billion in the last five years, according to Mayor Battle.
He said the average household income in Huntsville is higher than ever, but the city is working to update zoning codes to continue building affordable housing.
Mayor Battle highlighted what he hopes to do in order to “improve quality of life” in the city.
The Huntsville Police Department plans to add 24 officers next year and they are adding police correspondents for mental health calls in a partnership with Wellstone, according to Mayor Battle.
Huntsville Fire will be celebrating its 200th year and add 21 new firetrucks, a new station in West Huntsville, and 19 new firemen to its force.
In September, a new Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering opened in Huntsville, the first of its kind.
The Huntsville Sports Commission is bringing new facilities, sporting events, tournaments, and competitions including the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup in 2023 and a new professional soccer club – Huntsville City Football Club.
They are also working to land a major music festival for the city.
In addition to that, he says the city is adding a skate park and kids’ space to John Hunt Park, and will hopefully complete construction on Johnson Legacy Park, the Sandra Moon Community Complex, and the senior center in the next year.
They’ll also be working on the city’s roads, building parking decks and creating accessible sidewalks. This is part of the second phase of Mayor Battle’s Restore our Roads initiative, which will cost an estimated $800 million.
Resurfacing streets, building new roads, and working to maintain the 18-20 minute commute is in the plans, says Mayor Battle.
Continuing to look ahead, Mayor Battle noted that the completion of the northern bypass from Highway 255 to Highway 231 and working on a framework for better public transportation are in the plans for the next year as well.
Mayor Battle ended by saying the state of our city is “strong.”