State of the City
Mandeville…….How far we have come since Bernard de Marigny’s vision of building a prosperous new town on the north shore in 1834! In those days the City was concentrated along the banks of Lake Pontchartrain with a unique collection of homes used as summer retreats. Unfortunately, the City soon experienced unwanted change with the depression and Civil War. But not even war could destroy the tranquility and beauty Mandeville offered. At the turn of the century, the City revived. People came to live here seeking solace and community. Our City has been built on that foundation
Our job is to build on that foundation and continue that vision: preserving the quality of life we know and passing it on to a future generation. Our resources of natural beauty, a bountiful lake, lush canopy of live oaks, magnolias and towering pines abound and must be preserved. We continue to maintain public safety, improve cultural and economic means, update planning and zoning, maintain excellent infrastructure, improve transparency and beautify our City.
Beautification is an ongoing project.
New construction has continued. We recently erected our new water tower on Rapatel Street which will give added water pressure to the east side of the City as well as provide safe drinking water and increased fire protection. As with all of our capital projects, we use grants as much as possible in order to save taxpayer money. Since I have been elected, we have applied for and received over $5 million in federal and state grants, which have been used to enhance and provide for City needs. This resource has allowed us to maintain our financial strength and I am proud to say that today we are in a great position. Our residents were returned sales tax dollars by way of reduced property taxes and our employees received a much needed pay raise.
As the gateway to the North Shore, our city has seen steadily increasing traffic over the years. Widening highways has helped to increase intercity flow as we have seen with Hwy 190. We are currently in engineering design for improvements to the intersection of Hwy 22 and Hwy 190. We will soon begin a beautification project under the Monroe Street overpass at Causeway Boulevard. This intersection is a key connection of the citywide bicycle/pedestrian path to east and west Mandeville.
More traffic brings more people and safety issues; however Mandeville residents continue to enjoy fast response to calls and the coveted rectitude of low crime. Current stats show over 14,000 calls were made to our police department last year with the majority being medical issues and traffic violations. Public safety is our number one priority. Our police are dedicated and committed to maintaining our peace of mind and the quality of life we cherish.
Despite the growth in population in our City and Parish, we continue to build cautiously and wisely. The City follows low density impact on residential and commercial establishments and landscaping guidelines.
Alia Casborné to direct both of those departments and she has worked to increase and brand our identity as a place that values arts, culture and community. We continue to build strategies by working closely with the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation to proactively target markets and industries for relocation to the City while facilitating retention and growth opportunities for existing businesses. We have seen the economy shift from the waterfront inward to what is now the B3 area centered from Carroll to Girod and Monroe to the lake.
Success has been seen with the addition of national chains such as Home Goods and Whole Foods. Local companies are opening new locations such as Pat Gallagher’s 527 Restaurant and Pat's Rest-A-While on the lakefront. Our local restaurants are partnering with St. Tammany Parish Hospital Wellness Center to participate in "Fit Northshore” a program to educate and guide patrons to eating healthy. We have also revitalized our Community Gardens.
Local, state and federal grants are researched and applied for in this area as well to aid in holding cultural season events such as spring and fall free concerts, the Louisiana Philharmonic, Mandeville Octoberfeast, Winter on the Water, the Christmas parade and the fourth of July event complete with fireworks. The newly created Mandeville A.R.T. Collaborative was formed as a result of the City’s participation in the Louisiana Creative Communities and helped to promote local businesses. We have maintained cooperative endeavor agreements with Pelican Park to provide art & leisure activities, and the St. Tammany Art Association to provide summer art & theater camps both held at the Trailhead.
At City Hall we are building a new web site, and are embarking on a two year plan to make our operations more efficient. We are updating technology capabilities. The administration will see some reorganization to reflect a more contemporary business model. Our employees are extremely professional in identifying care needed on all calls and treating people with respect.
The bottom line is that we are continually making progress and improvements in our City, while maintaining and fostering the solace and sense of community that our founder began.
Our future is bright. We will continue to improve by long range planning for infrastructure and studies to forecast traffic requirements and solutions for the next 10-20 years. We will continue focus on maintaining the history and culture of our city, keeping in mind, "It’s all about Community”!