Jack Carney, Aim Hometown Innovations Contributor
This story is part of an Aim series where we will be reporting on “State of the City” addresses given by mayors from around the state.
Entering his third year as the mayor of Seymour, Matt Nicholson has much to celebrate while still keeping an eye on the future.
Mayor Nicholson spoke at length about both his community’s recent accomplishments and his upcoming plans for Seymour in his annual State of the City address that took place in late February.
Nicholson pointed out an interesting historical statistic regarding the city’s recent growth. According to the 2020 census, Seymour’s population reached 21,569, the first time the city’s population has exceeded 20,000.
In addition to population growth, a big portion of Nicholson’s address was dedicated to highlighting the different ways in which the government has been working on beautifying the city over the past year.
One example was the Curb Appeal program which was launched in 2021. This program encourages residents to make improvements to the exterior of their properties. Property owners can apply for grants of up to $750 in order to make upgrades with the city setting aside $10,000 total towards the project.
Nicholson also noted that seven blighted properties were removed or repurposed in 2021. Three of the properties were redeveloped into residential properties while another was remade into a commercial space.
The mayor also reported on the success of the 2021 Make Seymour Shine Day. This is an annual event in which the city picks up loads of trash around the town, free of charge, in an attempt to clean up the community. In 2021, the city picked up 27 more tons of trash than it did in 2020.
Paul Montgomery, a Seymour High School student, suggested another idea to help beautify the town at a city council meeting in 2021. Montgomery requested that the city become a “Tree City”, a recognition awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation. To achieve this classification, Seymour must establish an Arbor Day event, enact an ordinance related to trees, create a committee or board dedicated to trees and spend $2 per capita on urban forestry. Nicholson reported that Seymour has completed the first three of these steps, and he is working on creating a budget for tree maintenance and removal in 2022.
In addition, Nicholson boasted that the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department increased its number of active programs from seven in 2020 to 36 in 2021. The mayor has encouraged Seymour’s Parks Director Stacy Findley to have more than 50 active programs by the end of 2022.
As part of his address, Nicholson made sure to thank his 218 city employees for all they do for their community.
“Whether that job is at water pollution control, the police department, the fire department, planning and zoning, DPW and throwing trash every day, all of those roles are vitally important, and we wouldn’t be where we are as a community without those members,” he said.
The third-year mayor ended his speech with a quote from American poet Mattie Stepanek: “Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.”
Other Notes from Mayor Nicholson’s Address:
- In 2011, Seymour had 11 days of cash on hand. That number has grown to 152 days of cash.
- More than 1,300 building inspections were conducted by Building Inspector Dave Neukam in 2021.
- Construction on a new fire department headquarters began in November.
- Seymour police officers completed more than 5,200 hours of training – 113.5 hours of training per officer – in 2021.
- The city recently secured a $100,000 grant from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction to create a recovery coordinator position.