SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - For the final time, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg delivered the annual State of the City address Tuesday night.
“A mix of emotions, knowing this is my eighth and final opportunity to present the city of South Bend with an account of the State of our City,” Buttigieg said.
Fresh off his appearance at South by Southwest, Buttigieg was back in South Bend to discuss his tenure as mayor of his hometown.
A frequent theme for Buttigieg, as seen on the campaign trail and in his book, is his pride and belief that South Bend is a model for cities around the country.
“It’s about embracing the future, trying to master these changes,” Buttigieg said. “The dynamic things that are happening around us, find a way to make them work for us. To me, that's South Bend's story.”
Buttigieg highlighted the economic advancements the city has made, from the unemployment rate dropping from 7 percent to 4.1 percent, to population growth.
“We have seen billions in investment come to our city,” Buttigieg said. “Over 15,000 jobs have been added in our metro area.”
Buttigieg declared that downtown South Bend was officially back.
Nathan Kaehler used to live in South Bend and says it's great to see all of the developments the city has undergone.
“It makes the city a busier place, such as new parks, new trails, trying to connect with the bigger metropolitan area of Chicago and that type of thing,” Kaehler said.
On the infrastructure side, Buttigieg noted the millions of dollars of investments pouring into city project, the nagging potholes being filled and preparation for the impending 2020 fiscal curb.
Buttigieg expressed what an honor it has been to serve as mayor to the city he loves so much.
“But the truth is that the single thing I am proudest of in this city over the last seven years and change isn't something I can put into numbers; it's the simple fact that this city believes in itself again,” he said.
Buttigieg has decided not to run for a third term as he considers a presidential run. He has already launched an exploratory committee.
His advice to the next mayor of South Bend is that teamwork and commitment can continue moving the city in the right direction.