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Published February 22, 2012, 07:28 PM

Mayor Brown Outlines 'Grand Forks Promise' at State of the City Address

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Mayor Michael Brown described what he calls the "Grand Forks promise" in his 10th State of the City address Wednesday afternoon.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Mayor Michael Brown described what he calls the "Grand Forks promise" in his 10th State of the City address Wednesday afternoon.

The mayor highlighted the past year's accomplishments and future challenges.

More than 450 people gathered at the Alerus Center to hear Mayor Brown's speech.

He calls the speech an assessment of where we are and where we can be. His speech focused on the five pillars of the Grand Forks promise.

"A safe community, an affordable place to live and do business, a committment to young people, rich cultural and health experiences and opportunities to be engaged," Brown said.

He calls those the five pillars the foundation of the Grand Forks promise.

"Simply put, the Grand Forks promise enables every resident, business, family or organization the opportunity to grow."

Brown says that growth is apparent in the past year.

"In 2011 we had the second highest construction year on record. Total construction was up 175 percent," Brown said. "This month's sales tax revenue was the second highest ever. And for the second time we collected more than $2 million."

The city has seen growth in business, new construction and job opportunities over the past year. But Brown says the city has challenges that lie ahead.

"We as a whole community need to revisit how we approach housing. Not just affordable housing, although that's a critical element, but the entire spectrum of housing. We have needs expressly for the air force base families needs for the maturing populations and needs for our growing workforce," Brown said.

Brown says Grand Forks needs to continue to strive to be a destination city. He says the city's promise sets it apart.

"What is the quality of life? Every community can claim they have a great quality of life, but does anyone define what really that means? We do. Our quality of life is the Grand Forks promise," Brown said.

Mayor Brown gave the first state of the city speech ten years ago with 150 people in attendance so the crowds have grown. Wednesday's was the largest yet.

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