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Portage mayor touts downtown improvements, financial stability in State of the City address

screenshot from City of Portage YouTube video
Portage Mayor Sue Lynch delivers her State of the City address Feb. 16

Portage Mayor Sue Lynch says she's proud of the work her team has accomplished, since she took office in 2020.

"I'm happy to report that the state of the city is great. It's stronger than it's ever been, and it's getting stronger. And I'm very excited about that," Lynch said during her State of the City address Thursday.

Lynch touted the upgrades recently completed at City Hall and the ones planned at the Little League fields. Founders Square also saw improvements last year — and more walkways, shade structures and landscaping are planned for this year.

"This area now has become a gathering place for all of the events like the Market, Music and Movie events that we have every Friday in the city and Saturday and Sunday concerts that we have," Lynch said.

Meanwhile, design and engineering are scheduled to start this year on plans for a vibrant and walkable downtown. "It's something we're sorely lacking. And I know that when people go to Valpo and they walk around, it's lovely, but we have to take baby steps to get there," Lynch noted.

But the mayor spent much of her address highlighting the city's financial progress. Lynch said Portage only had $11,000 dollars in the bank when she took office, and had to borrow $5.3 million to make payroll and pay outstanding bills.

"But this year, I'm happy to report, that is much better. And the state, for the first time in a long, long time did not cut our budget, so that shows we are on the road to recovery," the mayor said.

She added that the Portage Redevelopment Commission is also in a stronger financial position, thanks to a strict budget and the sale of some of its properties. That's enabled the city to fund several projects and improvements.

Lynch also highlighted some of the city's infrastructure upgrades that she says are paving the way for future growth. Those include the replacement of water mains, as well as the Central Avenue West project made possible by federal funding.