, 2023-04-05 14:37:41,
BY KENDYL HOLLINGSWORTH
In his 2023 State of the City address, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller encouraged citizens to “be intentional” and be “difference makers.”
Fuller addressed a crowd of community leaders and business professionals at the evening event, held March 29 at the Bottling Plant Event Center in downtown Opelika. The event, hosted by the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, featured a cocktail hour, followed by remarks from Fuller and Opelika Chamber President and CEO Ali Rauch. The evening concluded with music and dancing.
“I’m humbled and proud to be the mayor of such a great city,” Fuller said. “… We had a great year in 2022.”
Fuller, now in his fifth term as mayor, noted Opelika’s growth and improvements not just in 2022, but since he first took office in 2004.
“Some … 18 years later, we’ve added 5,000 new jobs and $2 billion … in capital investment, so that’s folks like y’all and us making a difference together,” he noted.
Fuller said Opelika has recently seen improvements to the community in terms of safety, lifestyle, recreation, workforce and infrastructure. Some of these include a new police department and municipal court, library and senior center, as well as sidewalk improvements and renovations to the Covington Recreation Center.
In addition, Opelika has celebrated a slew of new businesses from downtown to Tiger Town, including QuikTrip, Crumbl Cookies, the much-anticipated Botanic and many more. Existing heavy-hitters like Golden State Foods and Hanwha Cimarron also announced plans to expand, investing millions of dollars in the community and adding more jobs.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have these industries and businesses that continue to invest in our community,” Fuller said.
The city continues to support its “first-class school system” as well, he added.
But all of these and more are the result of citizens and city employees being intentional in their efforts to make a difference — something Fuller said he strives to do each day.
“My personal goal each day when I go to work at city hall … is to try to make a small difference in the life of our community, and I’ve been doing that since 2004,” he said. “Just a small…
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