2016 marked the year Edgerton created more jobs than it has residents, said Don Roberts, mayor, at his third annual Edgerton State of the City address Feb. 16. The 22 minute speech highlighted accomplishments of 2016 and plans for 2017. He said the window of opportunity is now open for Edgerton. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz


Rick Popitz
Special to The Gardner News
Don Roberts, mayor, delivered the third annual Edgerton State of the City address at city hall on Feb. 16. The 22 minute speech highlighted accomplishments of 2016 and plans for 2017.
Roberts expressed appreciation for the increasing economic activity of recent years and optimism for the future.
“The window of opportunity is open for Edgerton. Right now is the time. Construction activity is high. It is the time to be busy and do more projects, both city and private investment-wise,” he said.
He said that the city is now building the foundation to move Edgerton forward for the future generations.
Roberts said at the time of its founding in 1870, Edgerton was an economic center, where area people came to shop. After The Great Depression (1929-39), things changed.
“Since the depression, Edgerton’s been in a long term economic downturn and it’s truly affected the town and its growth. Today, Edgerton is seeing the beginning of economic vitality, increased and raised to an all new level. Today, Edgerton is being built every hour,” he said.
Roberts commented on the opportunities for job training through resources provided by Johnson County Community College at LPKC and frequent job fairs sponsored by LPKC and business tenants.
He said one of his favorite things  to talk about now was Elevate Edgerton, and introduced Steve Hale as the newly appointed president of the organization.
Roberts recapped 2016 city infrastructure improvement projects, starting with the renovation of Manor Park.
“Manor Park was the city’s first major park improvement in over 30 years,” he said.
He summarized the annual chip and seal program, a five year plan that made improvements to 12 streets in 2016, and recognized Trey Whitaker, public works superintendent, for getting the program up and running.
The completed Sunflower Road overlay in 2016 was a partner project with the county.
“It was a great partnership that utilized the CARS program as a grant funding source,” Roberts said..
Roberts noted the city replaced every water meter in town last year and replaced them with automated meters.
Roberts expects to see construction of a long anticipated community center begin in 2017.
With grant assistance, the city is also doing preliminary design work for a downtown ‘streetscape’ project, to enhance the beauty of downtown. Roberts was excited about this project and said Edgerton had never done anything like it before.
The county construction of Big Bull Creek Park is set to begin in 2017, which he said would be an asset enjoyed by residents of Edgerton and will also attract people from all around the region as well.
“It’s a county process that has been a long time coming, that will be a tremendous benefit, a driver and engine for our community going forward,” said Roberts.
Roberts recognized the family of Nathan and Christina Eagleston, for time and effort they spent on volunteer work, helping other residents throughout the year. He said he knew they didn’t do it for praise, but they were truly an inspiration.
Concluding his address, Roberts said, “2016 in Edgerton is known as the year that Edgerton created more jobs than we have residents. 2017 is poised to build on that momentum. There are so many projects on the horizon that will shape the future of Edgerton for generations to come and I hope you all can be part of it.”