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State of the City

MAYOR DONCHEZ'S 2021 StaTE of the city


Good morning and welcome to the Annual State of the City Address.  Thank you for joining me this morning.  Let me begin by thanking ArtsQuest, the Chamber, all the sponsors, my department heads, City Council, all of you - attending in person and virtually, and most importantly – the residents of the City of Bethlehem.
 
Many words come to mind when I reflect on the past twelve months: Uncertainty. Relentless. Chaotic. Endurance. Patience. Reimagination. Perseverance. Resilience. And of course - toilet paper.
 
During the past year, we have faced monumental challenges and tragedy. They seem to come out of nowhere and hit us in rapid succession.  Fifty inches of snow in one month buried our City, and strained our staff. There was strife throughout the country as cities erupted in anger over the death of George Floyd. There was a long, drawn out, contentious presidential election – one unlike any other in history. And then of course - the pandemic. Little did we know what was in store for us when we heard the word coronavirus for the first time over a year ago.  As I am sure we can all agree, this past year was a year like no other, and one that has certainly changed our lives forever.   
 
We spent most of 2020, searching for ways to keep afloat, as we navigated a myriad of new rules and restrictions: how to keep businesses sustained, how to keep residents safe, and how to keep city services running uninterrupted.  We did not pretend to have all the answers. There was no playbook for this pandemic. Emerging from the pandemic took every single one of us - from City Hall, to our community partners, to our residents - working together throughout the city. I am especially grateful for my health bureau, my department heads, and their support staff – who did an outstanding job during these challenging times.
 
It’s been said, “Nothing accelerates innovation like a crisis.” As we know, innovation has always been part of the Bethlehem story. There’s no better example than our past with Bethlehem Steel. Perhaps now, more than ever before, we see our story transcend – with innovation and a renewed entrepreneurial spirit, happening all around us, as a result of the pandemic. The decisions we made this past year, and the ones we will make tomorrow, will determine the future of our city for generations to come.  My administration has risen to the challenge, and will continue to do so. Adversity often creates opportunity. We responded to the challenges of the past year. We were creative. We moved forward.  And we planned for our future.
 
While my administration continues to manage the responsibilities of the city, many of the things we’ve come to appreciate and enjoy about Bethlehem, are done in partnerships, with the tireless efforts of community organizations, health networks and educational institutions.
 
Our institutions of higher education, including Lehigh University, Moravian College - soon to be Moravian University, Northampton Community College, and East Stroudsburg University are assets to our city. In addition, they contribute to the safety of our city, assist our public schools, and infuse culture with their sports and arts programs. We need each other to flourish as a community. I am grateful for the personal ties and relationships I have established over the years, with President Simon, President Grigsby and President Erickson.
 
Because of their leadership, we have many new educational facilities, including Moravian College’s new Health Sciences Building, Housing at Lehigh’s Bridge West and Southside Commons, a new Health Science & Technology Building, and the future addition at Rauch Business Center. With the completion of major renovations at Northampton Community College’s Fowler Center, you will find a creative space in it’s new FAB Lab. Their Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, provides the opportunity for students and community members to strategize, and for entrepreneurial thinkers - a platform to bring their ideas into reality.
 
Our partnerships with these schools has brought revitalization and new life into our city, especially in South Bethlehem. Northampton Community College continues to provide an additional educational option for our SouthSide neighbors. Lehigh’s commitment to invest in South Bethlehem has brought renewed vigor into the business district. The Ambassador Program, sponsored by Lehigh University, has significantly improved the look and feel of South Bethlehem.  Our joint police substation with Lehigh Campus Police, located in the New Street Garage, has increased the visibility of the Police in the neighborhood.  Lehigh’s $500,000 contribution to improve the streetscape on South New Street, from Third Street to Farrington Square, will provide a walkable corridor, inviting students to shop and dine in South Bethlehem.  If it wasn’t for the commitment of Lehigh University’s Chairman, Kevin Clayton and President John Simon, along with St. Luke’s President and CEO, Rick Andersen, to be anchors in Greenway Commons, we would not have this office complex, or a new garage, on South New Street.
 
Dr. Roy continues to offer progressive leadership and innovative education to our children.  Facing the pandemic, the district quickly stepped into action and worked tirelessly with community partners, to find a way to provide online access, and learning to all of its students. The school district’s support for the Northside 2027 Neighborhood Plan, and partnerships with our health bureau and police department, has been a much appreciated collaborative effort, which will result in revitalized neighborhoods.
 
The City’s health care facilities are second to none, with both St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network ranked in the top ten hospitals in Pennsylvania.  They are both important strategic partners, and continue to support our city and community in many different capacities. Over the years, LVHN has sponsored free parking in our business districts around the holidays. St. Luke’s signed a five year $120,000 sponsorship of the Bethlehem Golf Club.  In addition, St. Luke’s support and partnership with the Hispanic Center has been a valuable asset to the Hispanic Community in our City. But this year, it is the commitment of both hospitals, along with our own health bureau, in getting our community vaccinated that is most appreciated.  We are very fortunate to have these two highly esteemed health networks in our City. And I want to thank President and CEO, Rick Anderson and President and CEO, Dr. Brian Nester for their Partnerships during my tenure in office.
 
Our economic partners, BEDCO, LVEDC, and the Chamber, ensure that the City is seen as the vibrant City it is, with many possibilities for business growth. Throughout my two terms as Mayor, their collaboration with the City and our businesses, has resulted in long term economic growth, resilience of businesses and improved quality of life here in Bethlehem.  Our partnerships are the foundation needed to sustain and advance our city’s growth, while continuing to attract new companies, jobs and talent. I would like to thank them for their tremendous support of our businesses during the pandemic.
 
In addition, I would like to acknowledge the support and partnership of Wind Creek Hospitality. Their willingness to provide us with sanitizers and PPE and to allow the City to use the Event Center to vaccinate the public, is greatly appreciated.  In addition, many thanks to their employees, who have volunteered countless hours assisting our Health Bureau at every clinic.
 
During my tenure as Mayor, the City has made great progress in achieving the goals that were outlined in my first State of the City Speech in 2014.  At the center of these goals, was one that would ensure the sustainability of our City - making Bethlehem financially sound.  I am pleased to announce that the state of the City is strong. 
 
When I took office in 2014, the City had a five year, 40 million dollar projected deficit and a BBB- bond rating. In 2020, Standard and Poor’s conducted a credit review.  They analyzed our financial status, and I am proud to say that their report re-affirmed our A+ credit rating, with a stable outlook. Our strong financial report was built by developing and implementing strong financial strategies, through consultation with my Financial Advisory Committee, and working with City Council and the City Controller.  Changes were made to make Bethlehem leaner, stronger and more strategically prepared, to tackle and meet the challenges of the future.  Improvements like consolidating departments, embracing new technologies, streamlining purchasing, and refinancing debt, made us more efficient.  In addition, we leveraged our purchasing power to achieve better deals for energy, banking and healthcare.
 
Bethlehem’s improved financial condition, has given us the ability to invest millions into many much needed, long deferred, capital projects, and infrastructure improvements throughout Bethlehem.
 
We worked hard to update aging facilities. Major security upgrades were made to City Hall, and we are currently in the process of replacing the 1950s outdated huts at Rodgers Street.  In addition, our Public Works department is overseeing the transformation of the former Water Control Room in the City Hall Garage, into a holding facility for housing stray dogs.
 
Roads have always been at the top of many people’s list. Since 2014 we have milled and paved over 40 lane miles utilizing over 40,000 tons of blacktop.  This past year alone we paved 13.14 lane miles.  The purchase of new equipment has helped us become more efficient, as we begin to do larger paving projects in house.  In addition, the purchase of a spray patch truck made us more efficient in repairing potholes with less manpower.
 
As we learn of more efficient ways of conducting business with emerging technologies, the city is shifting to new ways of operating. Over the course of my administration, we completed the upgrade of 5500 cobra head street lights to LED -  dramatically reducing energy use and maintenance costs. Our housing inspectors now use tablets in the field.  Our customers have their water meters read remotely.  And our new city website, along with the new My Bethlehem PA APP,  have been revamped so that residents and visitors can get information more quickly.  Our website interfaces with our own data platform, which allows viewers to see how funds are spent down to the line item, learn about specific projects, and interact with the city in a totally new way. Citizens can even attend City Council meetings without even leaving their home. Town Hall and many of our conference rooms have been fitted with cameras, mics and equipment to hold virtual meetings, helping us keep in communication with our residents throughout the pandemic
 
During my time in office, Bethlehem experienced two historic snow storms in 2016 and 2021.  Several years ago, we upgraded our salt storage facility, and fitted our trucks with new plows in order to be better equipped to handle such snowfalls.  Furthermore, we utilized new technology to improve monitoring, optimizing plow routes and road treatment, conduct operations and evaluate results.  We can now track services in real time, not only for snow, but for leaf collection and street sweeping operations as well. This tracking system ultimately reduced overtime costs while improving service.
 
Along with my responsibilities, comes a commitment to the environment. During my tenure, enhancing our pledge to a sustainable future has become a priority. We made innovative and practical decisions to address the challenges of climate change as well as energy.  The City of Bethlehem is committed to reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change.  I continue to support the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Plan and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. 
 
As we look to the future, a rapidly changing climate requires establishing a new vision for Bethlehem, as an equitable, prosperous, resilient, healthy, and inclusive city, that takes actions to mitigate climate change while increasing our preparedness for climate change impacts. These principles animate Bethlehem’s new Climate Action Plan, which we released earlier this week.

The product of more than one year of planning, including input from hundreds of Bethlehem residents, businesses and institutions, the plan lays out ambitious commitments to environmental justice and climate change mitigation aligned with science. We will aim to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 33% by 2025, 60% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2040. Bethlehem will lead by example by purchasing 100% renewable electricity for municipal operations and continuing to invest in cost-saving energy reduction initiatives, which have already reduced municipal emissions 38% relative to 2005.


We are equally committed to safe drinking water. Bethlehem is blessed with excellent drinking water and a 22,000 acre watershed that provides its residents and other communities, with ample quantities of clean fresh water. This past year, our water filtration plant received its twelfth consecutive Area-Wide Optimization Program Award (AWOP).  This award recognizes excellence in filtration plant performance and is a tribute to the diligence of the plant managers and operators for their ongoing efforts, to ensure that our drinking water is safe and meets all quality standards. In addition, the Water and Sewer department continues to upgrade aging infrastructure including underground water lines, sewer lines, pump stations, and our water filtration and wastewater treatment plants.
 
As our world evolves from the pandemic, and with more people increasingly spending time outdoors, the presence and upkeep of our streetscapes, paths, parks and recreational facilities, become even more important. It is vital people have outdoor greenspace to relax, trails to explore, safe streets to walk, and parks to keep children engaged.  We are committed to providing natural community hubs and recreational programming for people to interact safely and socially distant.
 
Our work on improving streetscapes has made areas safer, and more welcoming to residents and visitors alike. Improvements including sidewalks and trees were made along 4th Street, and we anticipate the improvements to South New Street to compliment our SouthSide Business District. 
 
Realizing how important a walkable city and recreational opportunities are,
in 2017, we completed Phase 4 of the Southside Greenway.  We are about to begin Phase 5 - which will ultimately connect to Saucon Park.  As a result of a grant from Northampton County Executive McClure, a feasibility study for a pedestrian bridge over the Lehigh River, linking our North and South Sides, is currently underway.  Numerous improvements are being made at the Rose Garden, including a walking path. A number of City parks have been updated and revitalized, including Friendship Park, and an interactive play area on the Greenway.
 
Memorial Pool, which opened in 1957, has undergone a 5 million dollar renovation. The exciting multifunctioning design, includes a zero-entry wading pool with splash bucket, an activity pool with 2 flume slides, and a competition pool with 6 lap lanes and 2 diving boards. The existing bathhouse and filter room were renovated. A special thank you to Senator Lisa Boscola who secured over 1.7 million dollars in state grants for the new pool.
Additionally, our Golf Course underwent 1.75 million dollars in renovations.  Like Memorial Pool, it was a popular recreational destination that needed reinvestment so it could continue to be a community resource for many years to come. Over the past two years, a new pavilion was constructed, sand traps were completely restored, the irrigation system was upgraded, and new cart paths were installed. The course has posted successful seasons and set records for play in each year since these upgrades. 
 
As the son of a detective, public safety is very personal to me. I have always felt that public safety is the most important function of city government. Developing safe and healthy communities became a priority. This included increasing awareness about the life-saving benefits of smoke alarms. National statistics show that three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without smoke alarms or working smoke detectors.  When I took office, I began taking “Dare-to-Care” walks three times a year throughout the city, and to date we have installed approximately 2000 smoke detectors.
 
My administration spends more on public safety than in any other area.  From 2003 -2009, the City did not replace any fire trucks, and as a result we had an aging fleet.  In order to bring our fleet back into line with national standards, we purchased eight new advanced life support EMS vehicles, and five new engines for the fire department, serving all sections of the city, and an all-terrain vehicle for off- road EMS calls and rescues.
 
Since 2014, EMS has responded to an average of 11,000 calls per year for medical assistance. Numerous life-saving and safety equipment has been purchased during my tenure, to assist our paramedics. Lucas Devices were acquired and placed on all EMS vehicles.  These automatic chest compressors allow paramedics hands to be free as compressions are done seamlessly, allowing them to maximize their efficiency. EMS personnel were also outfitted with soft body armor.
 
In the Spring of 2019, we consolidated our 9-1-1 Center with Northampton County, a complex transfer with critical implications. Through the efforts of our professionals, especially Bob Novatnack, Director of Emergency Management, as well as those at Northampton County, we completed the consolidation, and continue working to make sure that Bethlehem citizens receive the highest level of service. I would like to specifically thank County Executive McClure for his leadership and support throughout the consolidation process.
 
Following the completion of the 911 consolidation, I announced the opening of the Bethlehem Service Center, an operation that is staffed 24/7, and responsible for routing citizen service requests and concerns to the correct city department for resolution. The Bethlehem Service Center, along with the new “My Bethlehem PA App”, handles dozens of calls, emails, and requests each day, with the express purpose of improving services for our residents.
 
I take great pride in Bethlehem being considered one of the safest third class cities in the Commonwealth. As I look at our great city and the promise that it continues to hold for our citizens, I am well aware of the vital role that public safety has played in our past success and growth - and the significant role it will continue to play in the future.  In September of 2020, I announced a new police chief to serve the citizens of Bethlehem and lead us progressively into the future. Chief Michelle Kott has already brought a new energy and perspective to the Department. She is a strong advocate of Community Policing, Community Partnerships, and additional training, in the areas of mental health, cultural awareness, de-escalation tactics, implicit bias, and crisis intervention. 
 
We have seen great success with the introduction in 2016 of the Naloxone program, which provides our Public Safety Personnel, with the ability to assist individuals suffering the effects of a drug overdose.  Since 2018, 577 doses have been administered, resulting in many lives being saved.
 
In 2017, the Police Department and Health Bureau initiated a drug recovery program entitled BPAIR (Bethlehem Police Assisting in Recovery). This program allows officers to help individuals struggling with addiction by arranging for a professional to complete a drug and alcohol intake assessment and assist in finding the individual a treatment facility.
 
Through the generous donation of “Friends of the Bethlehem Mounted Unit” a new facility was constructed.  This facility provides proper shelter, care, and training space for the Mounted Unit. In addition, our K-9 Unit was expanded to four dogs, including “Silver” - a K9 that specializes in arson detection.
 
In the past few years, we upgraded our police vehicles with the purchase and installation of new dash cameras, radios and updated computer systems. And today, all police officers are outfitted with body cameras.
 
In recognizing the need for additional mental health services, this past year the police department, and our health bureau, have partnered to pilot a program to help individuals in need of access to critical social programs and services.
 
Chief Kott has reorganized police personnel to better serve the community.  This is the first such restructuring in over 20 years. Units have been realigned under a more efficient command structure, and categorized in to three primary groups: Patrol, Support Services, and Administration.  Most importantly, the new realignment will support criminal deterrence and detection, as well as create opportunities for meaningful interaction between our officers and our community.
 
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the tireless, unwavering work of our Health Bureau - especially our director, Kristen Wenrich and Bob Novatnack, our Director of Emergency Management.  A global threat such as COVID-19 is unprecedented in modern times.  And yet, part of the responsibility of a health bureau is to be prepared for pandemics, while managing an extensive list of other priorities.  I am certain they never imagined a year quite like this past year.  Bethlehem is fortunate to have its own health bureau.
 
Through Kristen’s leadership, our city was prepared, and has served as a model for the rest of the state.  Our health staff spent the past year addressing COVID-19 through investigations, surveillance, community awareness, education, mitigation and recovery efforts. They worked closely with the Bethlehem Area School District to keep students and staff safe, healthy, and school doors open.  Our health bureau has seamlessly organized vaccine clinics that vaccinates thousands of people per day.  To date they have vaccinated approximately 40,000 people! I have received many personal messages and many compliments regarding the outstanding job our Health Bureau is doing. In addition, our Police, Fire, EMS, Emergency Management, and other City staff - should be commended for their assistance to the Health Bureau at their COVID Vaccination clinics.
 
Additional Health Bureau projects include:  Vision Zero - a nationwide program with a vision to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2030, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable travel for all. And a lifesaving project called “Take Me Home” – provides wristbands that enables first responders and a trained team to locate missing persons who may be suffering from disabilities such as autism, dementia, and alzheimers.  In addition, the Heath Bureau found time in their busy schedule to distribute PPE and educate our local businesses about COVID-19 – the guidelines and state mandates.
 
Bethlehem - being a safe city, with recreational opportunities, a strong infrastructure, a commitment to the environment, and a high quality of life, is only achieved when people have quality neighborhoods to live in and good companies to work for.
 
When I came into office in 2014, the Lehigh Valley economy was growing faster than other regions of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. I made the decision it was time to focus a significant amount of our energies on our neighborhoods, something that previous administrations did not have the luxury of doing.  As a former teacher, I saw the impact neighborhood deterioration had on the community through the years, and knew we needed to focus on our existing housing stock, our small businesses that are the lifeblood of our community, and on family sustaining jobs that our residents could easily get to.
 
Initiatives have been developed like the Bethlehem Blight Betterment Initiative, Northside 2027, Northside and Southside Districts Retail Analysis, a new Northside LERTA, a renewed Southside LERTA, a new rental housing plan, a student zoning ordinance and the list goes on. My goal was to make sure we focused as much on community development, making Bethlehem a better place to live, learn and play, as we had on economic development during the decline and eventual closure of Bethlehem Steel. 
 
While we know Bethlehem didn’t suffer the same fate as many other cities, the Blight Betterment Initiative was created to guide the City’s efforts by stabilizing deteriorating neighborhoods, and improving housing conditions.  Out of this came a revamped eminent domain program, where we employ a transparent process to identify private sector partners to tackle our most blighted properties.  It was also the impetus of our new housing inspection program, where instead of waiting for landlords to call us and tell us they’ve changed tenants, we are proactively licensing and inspecting properties.  The City has started to deny permits to property owners who owe the City tax money, or who have properties which are not code compliant. 
 
Through Northside 2027, the City, Community Action Development Corporation, the BASD, and Moravian College, have partnered with residents to identify neighborhood issues like improving public space, fostering economic vitality, and supporting the neighborhoods through services, outreach and community development.  Investment through a federal designation – Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area – we will see millions in federal investment over the next few years.  This neighborhood, anchored by the new Food Coop grocery store, has benefited from over two million dollars in public infrastructure spending, including a $100,000 dollar upgrade to Friendship Park.
 
To support our neighborhoods, we knew we needed to change our rental housing inspection process to a data driven, inspection based process recommended in the City’s Blight Analysis. Moving forward we will license units annually, and inspect all residential units throughout the city on a three year rotation.  Implementing the licensing program, will allow staff to maintain essential information about owners and occupants, while increasing the frequency of inspections, stabilizing the city’s housing conditions, and improving the quality of life in neighborhoods. With the support of City Council, we enacted a provision, that will beneficially impact the quality of housing provided in the city’s 14,000 residential rental units. 
 
The Southside Keystone Innovation Zone has targeted innovative technologies, investing more than $4 million in startup businesses during my tenure.  This shows the economic potential of supporting startups, especially those generated out of local colleges and universities, like EcoTech, which launched at Lehigh University.  EcoTech Marine is the premier manufacturer of saltwater aquarium pumps and related products, which are sold all over the world.  Construction is complete on an 88,000 sq. ft. building in LVIP VII – 50,000 sq. ft. of which is now occupied by EcoTech Marine.  We are proud to say that we were able to bring EcoTech Marine back to Bethlehem, where they created 80 jobs and invested $2 million in their new headquarters facility. 
 
To incentivize projects like EcoTech at LVIP VII, and Majestic’s Bethlehem Commerce Center, it was important to renew our efforts as an Enterprise Zone Designated community.  This state designation, which was recently renewed for another 5 years, has facilitated $3.5 million in tax credits to 11 projects in our community.  This program, coupled with the Southside LERTA program, has assisted in the facilitation of the buildout of more than 1500 acres of the former Bethlehem Steel property. 
 
New employment opportunities continue to further development, of the former Bethlehem Steel site.  You can clearly see on the screen that tremendous progress has been made.  While these buildings are often constructed in an efficient and utilitarian manner...the breakdown of current uses on the former Bethlehem Steel land may surprise you.  Only 43% of buildings on this site are distribution and warehousing.  27%  manufacturing.  The remaining uses are broken down into other categories including office, hotel, medical, and even agricultural.  Companies like Walmart, Zulily, QVC, REEB Millwork, Curtis-Wright, Crayola, Continental Cup, Alpha, Trammel Crow and Ecopax, have located here providing thousands of jobs. Bowery Farming is an indoor vertical farming company who will be opening their largest and most advanced facility yet in Bethlehem.  A vertical farm on a former Bethlehem Steel brownfield: Wow, we’ve come a long way.  Since the closing of Bethlehem Steel in 1995, to date we have seen an investment of 1.6 billion dollars and approximately 8,000 jobs – on a reformed 1800 acre steel site. In addition, Wind Creek Hospitality is in the process of constructing a $120 million dollar, 270 room hotel.  We look forward to working with them as they continue to develop their property into a destination. 
 
Bethlehem continues to be a magnet for business and residential development as evidenced in articles by Forbes and the New York Times, featuring Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley’s diversified economy. To highlight that point, let me share some statistics with you:  since 2014, we have approved 1,059 multi-family housing units through our land development process. In 2019 we saw 3,434 permits pulled and the total estimated cost of construction in the city that year, based on these permits, was $308 million dollars.  In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, we saw 2,988 permits pulled with an estimated $305 million dollars in construction costs. Outside of 2008, when the casino located here, this represents the largest investment in over a decade.  And to show how much the city has grown and how much confidence people have in investing in their homes and businesses, the estimated construction costs over the last four years exceeds those of the previous four years by $340 million dollars.
 
While new economic development projects, like Martin Tower, capture headlines, our recent efforts, have largely been focused on helping our current businesses.  Our small businesses, especially those in our downtowns, have been facing unprecedented adversity as a result of the COVID pandemic.  It was paramount for us to provide updated information and resources through our website.  Through our efforts we have directed over $2 million dollars of investment into our downtown businesses and have helped to facilitate much more through County, Federal, and other private programs.  This includes purchasing of outdoor dining equipment, Parklets, PPE, direct grants to companies, and funding for the Southside Ambassador program that work to maintain a clean and inviting atmosphere. We will continue to support our businesses through these challenging time and hope that they will adapt and emerge stronger as a result.
 
As evidenced by the slides we’ve seen, Bethlehem is undergoing transitions all over the City. Whether it be facilities, equipment, technology, or programming, we are planning, adapting, and investing to meet the needs of our growing and diverse population. Bethlehem has been called “a uniquely vibrant historic city”. We are proud of our history, and have a strong commitment to honor our heritage. Historic Moravian Bethlehem, currently a National Historic Landmark District, is on the verge of hopefully being named a World Heritage Designation, one of only 24 sites in the United States.
 
Just as our City’s past, through its industrial innovation, has contributed to where we are today, our current entrepreneurial spirit, in combination with our world class institutions of higher education, cutting edge health networks, progressive public school district, dynamic downtowns and recreational opportunities will certainly lead us to a vibrant future - one that will continue to attract businesses and investors to our City.  The decisions we make today will continue to find Bethlehem being recognized as a “Best City to Live In”, “One of the most beautiful towns to visit” and “One of the top places to spend Christmas.” While most people chase success, here in Bethlehem, we established success.  While most other cities dream of success, we are living it. “The American Dream is thriving here,” - just as many of our ancestors had found when they arrived here to work at the Bethlehem Steel Mill almost a century ago.  During the course of the last seven years as your Mayor, I have taken pride in honoring the history of our City and the spirit of those workers that came before us, as we worked together to shape the future of this great City.  “One thing is certain - our future is very bright and Bethlehem will continue to be the jewel of the Lehigh Valley.”