POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - With the start of a new year, the City of Pocatello has a lot to look forward to.
Mayor Brian Blad is giving his annual State of the City address at the City Council meeting on Jan. 2.
Some key takeaways from the address are the progress at the Pocatello Regional Airport, the city's relationship with Idaho State University and the expansion of the Pocatello Regional Transit fleet.
"The airport will continue to explore ways to expand services from Pocatello, develop a master plan for the airfield, and expand the art displays inside the terminal as well as the Kizuna Japanese Garden," Blad said.
The city saw a slight decrease in issuing building permits. In 2018, 3,300 permits were issued, while only 3,000 were issued in 2019 valuing nearly $104 million.
Apartment unit construction also fell from 2018, with only 40 new apartments constructed last year--a big difference from the 125 new apartments in 2018.
“Now, I think in the future you’re going to see a lot more homes being built, you’re going to see more apartments being built," Blad said.
"You’re going to see more businesses coming in with more employment opportunities for people, which is great. We just need people to fill those homes so that they can fill the jobs, because right now we have more jobs than we have people."
The City has been focusing on its relationship with ISU in recent years. For 2020, Pocatello plans to create a College Town Charter and survey ISU students to determine their needs and what businesses students will support.
The Pocatello Police Department is hoping to get the Dispatch Division certified as an accredited Center of Excellence through the National/International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. The department also plans to implement body cameras and expand its fleet to have one car per officer.
A focus on the Portneuf River in 2019 will continue into 2020. The public works department will continue restoring the Pocatello Creek stream bank and install signs on the river.
The success of the first-ever Poky Portneuf Paddle, which drew 1,000 participants, is encouraging the department to improve river put-ins and do additional clean-up work.
PRT is planning to add four new buses to the fleet to split between urban and rural programs.
"Similar to the 7th and Sherman Bus Transfer Station, PRT will break ground on the Day at Grant bus stop improvement project," Blad said.
Some improvements to look forward to are new Americans with Disabilities Act compliant ramps, sidewalk renovations, and a bus shelter.
The Marshall Public Library more than doubled the number of e-books checked out from the library.
The library plans to expand its adult programs, add to its e-book collection and grow the Arts and Community Ticket offerings to include other cultural opportunities.
The Pocatello Animal Services had a successful year, adopting out 500 dogs and more than 700 cats during 2019.
Glass recycling proved popular with Pocatellans, as the Sanitation Department reports the new Albertsons drop-off location collected 170 tons of glass to be recycled in 2019.