Mayor Eric Hogue presented his annual State of the City address Tuesday, March 31, during a Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at FBC Wylie Event Center. Before the mayor spoke, a video, “I Love Wylie,” laid the foundation for his speech, focusing on the people of Wylie. The video featured citizens who recently commented on Facebook about Wylie being named the second-best small city in the country to raise a family.
Mayor Hogue thanked the chamber for naming him the 2014 Citizen of the Year at the recent Director’s Choice Awards. “But I am just one of nearly 45,000 citizens of the year who make Wylie such a special place,” he said.
The mayor told a story regarding his own welcome to Wylie. He had just moved to town in 1991 and, needing a copper tubing cutter to hook up his refrigerator, he had gone to Wylie Hardware to make the purchase. He was surprised when Kenneth Nall gave him the tool from his personal supply and said “just bring it back when you’re finished.” “I went home and told Tammie … we’re not in Arkansas anymore!” he recalled.
Mayor Hogue noted some of the facts and figures regarding the current state of the city, including the 5% decrease in the crime rate, despite a 4% increase in population. He mentioned the construction of a 1-mile, 12-foot-wide municipal complex trail. He noted dramatic increases in the number of people participating in events at the Wylie Senior Recreation Center – 51 percent – and mentioned some of the businesses in town that are exceeding projections, including Lake Point Emergency Room and The Rock.
“So why is Wylie so special? Is it the schools, the sports, or the small-town feel? Is it the cost of living, the charm of downtown, the city events, or the culture of servant leadership? The rec center, the library, or the parks? The answer is – yes, to all of those reasons. It’s because of the people … we take pride in our home town … it’s unique, it’s special, and we claim it as our own … and our focus is to continue to build a better Wylie,” he said.
Mayor Hogue said the City Council had developed a mission statement and vision for the city this past year. The mission is to honor the past, embrace the present and plan for the future. The vision is to look to the past and build on our heritage; focus on the present and celebrate Wylie’s hometown character; and plan for the future by creating opportunities for growth.
He also announced some new programs and plans, including opening his office doors from 1 to 5 pm every second and fourth Tuesday; any citizen of Wylie is invited to meet with him to discuss issues or concerns. He said the quarterly Mayor’s Breakfast will return and invited everyone to check the city’s website and social media for details. He also noted an addition to this year’s Boo on Ballard: a magic festival, the first of its kind in Texas.
“Wylie is a community with its arms flung wide open, looking to the future with a respectful eye to the past … a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts,” the mayor said in closing.