Mayor Nancy McFarlane delivered her last “State of the City” address at Union Station Friday, reflecting on the progress the city has made during her tenure and looking hopefully toward the city’s next generation of leaders.
The speech is usually given in the spring, but McFarlane–who announced in March she would not seek re-election after four terms as mayor–was absent for several months earlier this year after complications from back surgery. When she returned, she faced a council majority that didn’t see eye-to-eye with her on issues of growth and development.
Of that cohort, only David Cox will remain on the bench after Dickie Thompson decided not to run again and council members Russ Stephensen, Kay Crowder and Stef Mendell lost their seats in the October election to challengers Jonathan Melton, Saige Martin and David Knight.
The new council will inherit a Raleigh “booming with opportunity,” McFarlane said, noting unemployment in the city is down while jobs are up, with nearly 5,000 new jobs added since last year. Meanwhile, city leaders have invested taxpayer dollars in a new rapid bus transit system and new fire and police stations with an additional commitment to turn Dix Park into a destination.
The growth Raleigh has seen is good, McFarlane said, criticizing the “neighborhoods versus developers,” divide that has engulfed city politics.
“We all fundamentally want the same thing for our city. So let’s stop dividing ourselves,” McFarlane said. “A developer built your neighborhood. They built your children’s school, your place of worship. I hear they even built a Wegmans. We have to work together to build the Raleigh that we want.”
Watch the entire speech here: