The number of new jobs in Meridian and construction investment both increased around 10 percent last year, Mayor Tammy de Weerd announced Wednesday afternoon in her 14th annual State of the City Address.
Of the 3,825 total jobs created in Meridian in 2016, 600 were at The Village at Meridian, a shopping center located near the corner of Fairview Avenue and Eagle Road. Commercial and residential construction value topped $430 million, de Weerd said. The mayor praised the city’s simplified and expedited commercial permitting process, saying it reduces the barriers to doing business in the city.
Construction is scheduled to begin soon on a $2-million, multi-story commercial-residential project that will be the first of its kind in Downtown Meridian. This year will bring more big news, de Weerd promised, though she said it’s too early for those announcements.
Not all of de Weerd’s speech was about the economy. She said the city had seen a 69-percent decrease in the number of complaints about police officers since they started wearing body cameras three years ago “before it was cool.”
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The city also plans to open three new parks in 2017. The 7.5-acre Bainbridge Neighborhood Park will be located near the southwest corner of Chinden Boulevard and Ten Mile Road. It will be named Keith Bird Legacy Park, after the Meridian City Council president.
The other two parks are Hillsdale Park, a 10-acre space near the corner of Eagle and Amity roads; and the 8.9-acre Reta Huskey Park near the corner of Ustick and Ten Mile roads in the Bellano Creek residential subdivision.
De Weerd also announced that Meridian has activated a new online portal for the public to explore the city’s budget and other financial information.
Meanwhile, the mayor said, work is underway on a $45 million expansion and upgrade of the city’s sewer plant. The overhaul is designed to help the plant’s sewer discharge meet federal environmental guidelines and increase its capacity.