By MARK EVANS
Keeping the city safe is Mayor Paul Hassler’s No. 1 goal for 2021.
“If we talk about 2021, for me that’s first and foremost out there, to be diligent with the COVID and work with the Health Department and the county and keep people safe and try to keep our community rolling along,” he said.
After all, if the coronavirus is rampant again in 2021, little else is likely to get done.
“We can able all kinds of plans, but that kind of dictates what you can do,” Hassler said. “You saw what it did last year. We’ll see what happens in 2021.”
He listed catching up on street repair and paving as the No. 2 item.
“We didn’t get any done last year,” he said. “We got a lot of repair work done on water lines. This year, we hope to do some asphalting.
“There’s a lot more to do than we’re going to get done, but we’re going to try and put a dent in it.”
Hassler also expressed pleasure that the pandemic didn’t completely crush local businesses-despite the town’s dependence on tourist dollars.
“We’ve been blessed with the economy, too, here in our little town,” he said. “We’ve been doing really well. I just hope we can continue to do that Hopefully we can keep our heads above the water and keep moving on.”
Hassler’s third goal is to continue ushering the plan along to create a U.S. Fish and Wildlife sanctuary on the outer side of the Urban Design Levee.
“I would like to keep pushing forward, working with the levee board and the U.S Fish and Wildlife, as they plan on developing the property on the other side of the levee,” he said. “I think you’ll start seeing some roadways named for people and start seeing some signs up on the levee. I think we’ll get the ball rolling. We want to keep pushing forward on that.”
Finally, the mayor wants to see the Parks and Recreation Board continue its work. From an almost dormant group a few years ago, the board has grown in numbers and enthusiasm. It is now preparing to implement a master plan for the city parks, designed by Nick and Mary Donze.
“I know we’re going to start doing some fundraising and seeing what we can do about starting that great plan that the Donzes put together,” Hassler said.
“There’s plenty to do in 2021,” Hassler summarized.