Mayor Makes State of the City Address
Mayor Raul Salinas gave his State of the City address earlier this afternoon to a packed house of local leaders.
The Mayor says the outlook is brighter for Laredo this year.
And while his speech was almost completely positive news, there were a few questions raised.
“The mayor discussed everything from border security to property values and said Laredo right now is better than it’s ever been.”
A packed house at the Laredo Country Club Wednesday, waited to hear how Laredo has fared over the last few years.
Mayor Raul Salinas was especially clear that Laredo is doing well.
Covered in his speech were the sharp drop in crime, the over $625million invested in the city since 2007 and road and highway projects that continue on track despite huge federal funding cuts.
“We have been fortunate not to lay off people. That’s important. We’re trying to keep business here and keep people working.”
As far as being the best time Laredo’s ever seen, some say not exactly.
“We’re not at the level we want to be. It’s all on unemployment. We’re still at 8 percent. Once we see the numbers like in 2007 that was the best time in history.”
Chamber of Commerce representatives and the mayor say business is up this year. The number finally positive, instead of in the red like they had been the last two years.
Still some downtown merchants say they're struggling and say Laredo’s image and lack tourist attractions is the blame.
Mayor Salinas agrees and while he says advertisements of Laredo are in the works, it's not clear exactly how the City plans to change that negative image.
“We’re working right now on a project with the Convention and Visitors Bureau. It takes money also.”
And for now the only attractions in the works include a baseball park and golf course.
“I was in favor of a water park but we had Shlitterbahn come look at the market and they thought it was not the time yet.”
The message right now: stay positive.
“We're working a lot of things that will take time but we need to stay positive.”
Downtown business owners told us off camera they're still very concerned.
Their business is down, much of El Portal is still empty and the downtown master plan isn't expected to bring quick results to re-vamp the area.