BCN Staff – March 28, 2022 – Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. will deliver his third State of the City address today (March 28) at the city’s first Black chief executive. This year, Scott will provide his overview of the city’s past year’s progress and future at Southwest High School, 9715 Mabelvale Pike, at 6 p.m.
The annual address, entitled “Growing Forward,” is returning to a live venue this year after being held virtually last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will feature participation from the Little Rock Police and Fire Departments, among others, as well as participation from the Mayor’s Youth Council and students from Southwest High School.
“Our city faced has faced historic challenges over the past two years, but we have overcome and thrived despite them,” said Scott. “Now is the time to be thinking ahead and planning for the next challenges. Now is the time not just to be growing, but growing forward, considering carefully how we can shape our city to be a place where opportunity abounds for all residents to live, work and enjoy everything Little Rock has to offer.”
Although Scott will deliver his annual address for the first time since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March 2022, the event will also be streamed live on the City of Little Rock’s City YouTube and Facebook pages (@citylittlerock). Residents are invited to attend in person or watch online.
By city ordinance, the State of the City address must be given before March 31each year. During the event, Scott will not only cover the accomplishments achieved and goals reached in 2021, but also provide in-depth plans for 2022.
Scott is delivering his annual address only eight months left before the city’s next mayor election. Scott was swept into office in after the historic November 2018 general election and a later runoff against Little Rock businessman Baker Kurris. Scott took his oath of office in early 2019 and gave his first State of the City address at Horace Mann Arts and Science Middle School, where his message focused on his message of unity and highlighted his goals for the City of Little Rock.
The next State of the City address was held in late January of 2020 with the theme “Lift Little Rock.” That speech reviewed Scott’s first year in office and gave residents new, detailed information on 2020 priorities, including plans for public safety, parks, economic development, and citizen engagement. At the time, Scott also first proposed his one percent tax hike that his said would lift the city closer to its “true potential.”
That proposal soon had to be tabled after the global pandemic began less than two months later. Scott and the Little Rock City Board of Directors only months later cut the city’s budget by 2.3% and shutdown most of the city facilities for a year due to shelter-in-place mandates and citywide mask mandates.
The next year, on March 26, Scott delivered his third tech-enabled State of the City address virtually before a live audience of 100 people. It was titled “Rebuild the Rock: State of the City Virtual Experience,” and provided in-depth plans for 2021 and highlighted stories from Little Rock residents sharing their experiences and struggles during the pandemic.
During 2021, Scott was unable to implement his forward-thinking, post-pandemic vision to make Little Rock a top southern destination and renaissance city. A big part of that agenda, which included his revamped one percent sales tax hike to generate $531 million over the next decade, has mostly stalled in the mayor’s third year in office.
Scott officially launched his reelection bid at the Hearne Art gallery in the Dunbar Historic District on Feb. 1. To date, Little Rock businessman and auto dealer Steve Landers, Loretta Hendrix and Greg Henderson have also announced their intentions to jump in the mayor’s race in the fall. The filing deadline for this election is August 10, 2022.
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