With so many changes taking place in the present and planned for the future of the city, Corry City Council members and Mayor Dave Mitchell shared where they see Corry today and where they see its future.
"It is a new day in Corry. My theme has been for us to have a short memory and a long vision," Mitchell said. "This means that we respect our past but our time and energy should be focused on the future. We must look at what can be and not be stuck on what is now. Vision for a community is built by many citizens working in a positive way to make life better for all citizens of the community."
Mitchell said many positive things are going on with Corry.
"We have citizen groups working on getting rid of blight, planting trees, improving our parks and our airport," he said. "Our schools are working on STEM education and helping to build the worker base we need to continue job creation in Corry. Our police department is working with groups on domestic violence, clearing the town of drug dealers and school safety, among other things. Our fire department has taken on code compliance to ensure our buildings are safe."
Mitchell continued to say City Council is taking on many projects and referenced the importance of bringing the condition of city properties up to modern standards.
"The 16-million dollar water project is a heavy lift but will secure safe water delivery for decades to come," Mitchell said. "We are reaching out to get grants to push our projects forward. This takes some of the burden off the taxpayer to fund these needs."
Mitchell believes that city workers have worked hard to meet the challenges of weather, short budgets and have excelled in pulling together to get the job done.
"Years of the state underfunding local road improvement has hurt every community and doomed us to bad roads," he said.
Councilman Drew Sproveri, director of public safety, is also optimistic.
"I see Corry as a city on the mend," Sproveri said. "Three years ago we were in pretty bad shape financially. We are slowly improving. I attribute this to our strong Council, management staff and employees willing to make decisions for the betterment of the city."
Sproveri said there is now a little money set aside for emergency and the continued habit of buying used equipment better stretches the taxpayers' hard-earned money.
"Overall, I feel our future is bright. I'm looking forward to seeing better streets, and with code compliance, higher property values overall," Sproveri said. "We want to make Corry a city anyone would consider moving to."
Councilwoman Taree Hamilton, director of parks and public spaces, agrees.
"I see the city as being in a very positive place right now," she said. "We have many areas we are working on to make Corry a place you want to live and raise your family in. There is energy and enthusiasm in our residents as shown by their willingness to serve on committees as we all work together on many different projects."
Councilman Bill Roche, director of finance, pointed to more funding available if city organizations work together.
"We were told by funding sources that we would be able to apply for more funding if we had more of a centralized effort to improve Corry," Roche said. "We have all these organizations and two or three of them are doing the same thing, they're not working with each other. Other ones are actually working against the other ones. Big problems are not getting treated at all. We were told, 'if you get more organized with a central authority to influence that activity, you would be eligible for more funding.'"
Councilman Steve Drake, director of streets, agrees things are getting better but it's a slow process.
"If I had to summarize the condition I think the city of Corry is in today I would call it stable,“ he said. "We are meeting expenses with a small contingent reserve and the infrastructure is being upgraded as we speak. Water and sewer issues and our streets are being addressed on a daily basis.
"By my rough calculation, to mill and repave the remaining 35 or so miles of streets that we have, would cost an estimated $9.2 million at today’s costs. That is just out of the question so we have to do the best we can with the roughly $300,000 a year allotment we get from liquid fuels state funds coupled with the money we spend from general fund to do the patching."
Drake sees things improving from a practical standpoint.
"I believe that all of the city departments working together is beginning to show some good results on other levels," he said.
Drake explained that continued effective communication saves time and money.
"I like to see things improve, when they can," Drake said. "I think the current leadership is careful and qualified enough to make that happen but I think it will be a slow process.
Viewing himself as the day-to-day problem solver, Drake said he is glad there are others with more vision and insight into ways to make the city thrive.
"Hopefully with the improved infrastructure and services that we are working on currently, people will find their glass still half full or more," Drake said.