Woodstock Mayor Michael presented his 2024 State of the City Address to a sold-out crowd at the Woodstock Arts Theater on the morning of Friday, January 26, 2024.

Mayor Caldwell began the address by saying, “I am proud to report that our city today remains financially secure, economically robust, artistically vibrant, and the sought-after home of go-getters and dreamers throughout the region.”

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The mayor noted the City of Woodstock’s 2023 investments in public safety officers and parks and trails as well as the city’s historically low tax rates citing that Woodstock was among the only local governments in Georgia that did not raise taxes last year.

“From the largest police pay increase in our city’s history, to the largest parks investment in a century, to impossible growth boundary agreements, our city continues to solve the problems we face with record-breaking success. Let today be the moment that we promise to one another that we will build a city recommitted to the premise that our children should inherit more from us, not less,” Mayor Caldwell challenged the audience. He continued, “We owe it to them.”

Mayor Caldwell shared renderings of the future Little River Park and said that with the project in the design and engineering stage, the city projects completion of the park before the end of his first term (December 31, 2025). While speaking of the work of Woodstock Parks and Recreation, Caldwell revealed the lineup for the 2024 Season of the Woodstock Summer Concert Series.

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The season begins on Saturday, May 11, 2024, with rock legends Night Ranger. On June 8th, The Guardians of the Jukebox will rock the Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater. Post-grunge icons Tonic headline the July 13th concert. Michael Jackson tribute Who’s Bad performs at the August 10th concert, and country legend Eddie Montgomery closes the 2024 season with a concert on September 14th.

Mayor Caldwell spoke about Woodstock’s infrastructure saying, “Problems with issues like traffic and parking are only present in places that people want to be. Our city today stands as a thriving community filled with life. So many other cities in our state and nation question their futures while their populations steadily decline.” Mayor Caldwell shared renderings of a pedestrian plaza planned for Elm Street to be named in honor of retired Assistant City Manager Rob Hogan that will align at a primary crosswalk on Main Street to create a more pedestrian-safe and friendly experience and a more efficient driving experience through the center of downtown.

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Mayor Caldwell discussed his priority of building a stronger commercial base noting the recent groundbreaking for Depot Square positioned between Woodstock’s historic train depot and Woodstock City Center which will bring tens of thousands of square feet of new office, restaurant, and retail space as well as a hotel and conference space to downtown Woodstock. The mayor said that most of the new commercial space will be complete in late 2025 and the parking deck will open before the end of this calendar year.

Recently appointed Vice Chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission, Mayor Caldwell noted that the ARC’s Metro Atlanta Speaks survey identified crime as the biggest challenge facing the region. The mayor credited Woodstock City Council’s 26-percent starting pay increase with allowing the Woodstock Police Department to be fully staffed and at full force for the first time in over a decade. Mayor Caldwell also highlighted the achievements of Woodstock Fire Department in 2023 that included an overhaul of the ranking system and the creation of a Community Risk Reduction Division.

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Speaking of his priority of making the American dream of homeownership available to more of Woodstock’s citizens, Mayor Caldwell outlined his and Councilman Colin Ake’s involvement in the development of policy for affordability in housing for our region through the Georgia Municipal Association.

Mayor Caldwell addressed the financial health of the city stating that the City of Woodstock has more than doubled its unassigned general fund balance in the last two years. The mayor emphasized that Moody’s and S&P increased Woodstock’s credit rating to Aa1 and AA+ in December 2023. Caldwell stated, “Improving economic metrics, sustained reserve levels, and an improving debt profile were just a few of the positive indicators that make the financial world bullish on Woodstock.” According to Caldwell, “Our city now sits just one level shy of having a perfect credit rating, which represents real savings for our taxpayers and exemplifies excellent financial stewardship.”

The mayor concluded his address by sharing the City of Woodstock’s new mission statement developed at city leadership’s annual retreat last week saying, “We are building a city that feels like home.” Mayor Caldwell shared the City’s vision to boldly pursue what’s next to build a thriving community.

“This incredible narrative began long before us, and it will undoubtedly live beyond us,” said Michael Caldwell. “The decisions we make and the stories we tell will shape this place for those who come after, and our bold, collaborative, authentic City Unexpected will surely rise to the challenge.”

Watch the Address:

Read a Transcript:
2024 State of the City Transcript