This is an exciting time to be in Dallas, Texas as it’s quickly becoming one of the best places to live in America. I’m happy to report that our city is stronger than it was a year ago and it’s growing stronger by the day.
Dallas certainly faced some serious challenges last year. We had quite a scare with Ebola, but I’m proud of the way the City and County of Dallas were able to contain the virus through our commitment to early detection and proper monitoring.
Overall, 2014 was a downright vibrant year for our city, especially in terms of economic growth. Our unemployment and retail vacancy rates continue to drop as we add more and more jobs. We’re enjoying strong, sustained growth in the city’s sales tax revenues and home prices. Corporations continue to move their headquarters here, and construction is booming.
According to a recent Forbes study, Dallas is now the fourth fastest-growing city in the country. That growth is evident almost everywhere you look, from the increase in non-stop flights at Love Field after the end of the Wright Amendment to the ongoing transformation of Downtown, including our truly unique Arts District.
The arts in Dallas continue to have a huge impact on the community and economy, and it’s essential that we all support our fine local arts organizations and attend local events. Last June, the Arts District drew rave reviews from out-of-towners during the New Cities Summit. And Dallas gained even more newfound respect later that month during the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Yet as successful as those events were, they reminded us that we have to keep reinventing and reimagining Dallas in our journey to becoming an even greater city.
In May of the upcoming year, the first annual SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival takes place in the Arts District, and in the fall, the district will host AURORA Dallas, an explosion of colorful lights, videos and contemporary art works created by artists from our own backyard and around the globe.
We’ll have the chance to move in the right direction in 2015 as six new City Council members take office and bring new insights and perspectives to City Hall. We’ll make it a priority to continue transforming our school system and investing heavily in our children’s futures.
And we plan to carry on the reinvention of our city with new bridges, trails, roadways, lakes and water features that make up the Trinity River Corridor Project. We are at the very beginning of real progress in Dallas, and the key to success will be growing the city through my four initiatives that I’ll update you on in the coming months: GrowSouth, Arts & Culture, International and Education.
Thank you to all the citizens of Dallas who made 2014 such a remarkable year and to everyone who is dedicated to building an even brighter future for our great city.
Mayor Mike Rawlings