This past fiscal year, which ends April 30, has been very good for Princeton. The empty store fronts that plagued Main Street for so many years are today, near full to the extent not seen since the 1970s. We are bringing people to town, and residents are Shopping Princeton First.
Our Main Street Revitalization project continues. Darius Miller Park will be completed this year. Trees were planted on South Main. There are more planned for North Main later this year. The landscaping of the parking lot at Main and Elm is nearing completion, and there’s a new kiosk. It’s all being done through the generosity of business and industry and residents, along with grant funding and the proper use of tourism funds. None of what we have done has utilized Princeton tax money ... that’s quite an accomplishment.
We are also addressing our debt. Two years ago Princeton’s long-term debt was $42.2 million. Today, two years later, we have lowered our long-term debt by $7.5 million to $34.7 million. We have no plans on taking on any additional long-term debt, so by this time next year, we expect to have lowered our long-term debt by another $3.7 million. That will be $11.2 million in debt reduction in three years time.
We have worked with engineers to create a 20-year street program that addresses every street in town. At the end of this process we will have a map on the city website that puts a year next to every street in town in which repairs are to be made, based on condition and priority. This year we will repave five streets and two parking lots. A year from now we hope to complete six more street repavings and the repaving of an additional parking lot. And in two years time, when our Motor Fuel Tax bond will be paid off, we hope to repave in excess of 10 streets. The target is for the repaving of at least 22 streets and at least three parking lots in three years time.
We’ve also worked on a long-term sewer control plan that will go hand in hand with our street program. The city has installed flow monitors and narrowed down specific areas of town that see high infiltration; these areas will be addressed over the next couple of years, and then projects will be programmed into a 10-year capital improvement plan that will be coordinated with the street improvement program.
In February we held our first economic development summit. We are scheduling our second summit for July that will involve business and industry partners and our school districts. We will be discussing, among other topics, vocational training for current and future business and the value of TIF Districts.
Princeton is on a roll. I firmly believe, without reservation, with the commitment and engagement of city residents along with the strongest Chamber in the region, the year ahead of us will be the best one yet.