The State of Our City Is Strong

Mayor Casper delivers heartening State of the City address

Published online: Jan 15, 2021 Articles, East Idaho Business Emily FitzPatrick
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On Thursday, Mayor Casper delivered the annual State of the City address amid rising cases of COVID-19. Mayor Capser tackled the pandemic head on, quoting Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” With the city’s countless losses and victories this year, Casper couldn’t have picked a more accurate quote to summarize the whole of 2020.

Here is a breakdown of the struggles and successes Casper covered in her speech last night:

The Struggle

Loss Amid a Pandemic

In Bonneville County, 116 community members passed away from COVID-19 in 2020. Casper recognized the depth of this loss, while at the same time commending those working on the frontlines to provide healthcare and essential services during these tumultuous times. 

“I wish to express gratitude for the men and women who have been our navigators through the past several months.” said Mayor Casper. “…[Those] who have worked long and hard to be there on call 24/7 for every single one of us whenever we needed them in 2020. This was your year and you shined in the midst of your fatigue and exhaustion. We will always be grateful.”

Casper applauded healthcare workers for both their willingness to give of them time and energy, as well as their preparation. The mayor noted that the city’s current situation would have been much different if Idaho Falls Community Hospital hadn’t opened its doors and EIRMC not remodeled in the years previous.

The Successes

On top of adjusting to a COVID-19 landscape, the city has continued forward with numerous projects

Some highlights:

  • Funland Restoration: Idaho Falls is moving forward with plans to restore the Funland amusement park in time for its 75th anniversary in 2022. 

  • Splash Pad: Park goers can expect to enjoy a new splash pad at Reinhart Park this summer.

  • Trail Construction: The city has plans to construct new trails along the canals.

  • Airport Expansion: Allegiant Airlines recently announced flights between Idaho Falls and Portland will begin in May of 2021.

  • Affordable Housing: Idaho Falls residents can expect to see some major updates to the City’s comprehensive plan for affordable housing. Neighborhood meetings will be hosted with City planners as officials work to bring more living options to the area.

  • The Water Tower: In 2021, background work will be done for replacement of the water town in the spring of 2022.

  • Power & Fiber: As the need for high speed internet grows, the city will begin construction on a new substation north of town along with 18 miles of high voltage power lines to connect it to the local grid.  

  • The Police Station: Law enforcement will begin preparations for their new complex and review internal policies.

  • The Fire Department: A new ladder truck is in the works for the fire department this year. The IFDD is also preparing to become a COVID-19 vaccination point for the community.

A Future of Hope

Overall, Mayor Casper shared many plans that lead us to believe that despite the difficulties of 2020, we can still expect good things to come in 2021. With the introduction of programs, such as Idaho Falls Family Happy Hour, the city is doing all it can to not only fulfill their basic duties to protect the community, but also boost morale in these trying times.

If you would like to listen to the mayor’s full speech click here.


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