Job creation, reducing crime, and flood recovery were dominant themes in Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle’s third State of the City address.
Suttle gave his State of the City speech Thursday morning at the Gallup campus on Omaha’s riverfront. Suttle says 700 new businesses have come to the city during his three years in office, bringing with them 8,000 new jobs. The Nebraska Department of Labor says the Omaha metro area’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December, the same as December 2010. Suttle expects further economic growth in 2012, projecting that new developments at Midtown, Aksarben, and Crossroads will create one billion dollars in new investments.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has $15 million dollars available for repairs to Omaha’s 13 mile levee system following last summer’s Missouri River flooding. Suttle says the 104 days of flooding threatened job creation and investment in Omaha. A levee breach could’ve hurt Omaha’s economy for several years, according to Suttle.
He also discussed a citywide violence prevention strategy and a summer employment program for young people. Suttle says those initiatives are important to reducing crime. 843 illegal guns were removed from Omaha’s streets last year. But Omaha ended 2011 with 37 homicides.