Brian Grim Sworn-In as Mayor

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Brian K. Grim

City of Cumberland

January 3, 2011

 

 

First of all, welcome and thank you to Commissioner McKay, Commissioner Valentine, Judge Gilpin, and Sheriff Robertson for attending today.  While today, it is true, that in the words of President Kennedy, “the torch [of leadership] has been passed to a new generation,” I am also grateful to Mayor Fiedler for his ten years of service to the City of Cumberland and for serving as a mentor.  Mayor Fiedler, your leadership while in office has set a standard for public service.

 

Thank you to the citizens of Cumberland for giving me this opportunity to serve you.  I appreciate the outpouring of support that I received.  Thank you to my family and friends for all of your help and support.  Thank you to Pastor Dillon, Judge Sharer, the Honorable Dawne Lindsey, city staff, and everybody else who participated in preparing for today’s ceremony.

 

Thank you to each of you in attendance for what I believe is a coming together and a celebration of new energy in our city.  Today is the beginning of what I believe will be a community renewed in spirit, strong in the belief that we can move forward, and dedicated to a vision for all that Cumberland can be. 

 

A commitment to a progressive vision for our community is essential to moving ahead.  To paraphrase Proverbs 29:18, “a community without a vision is destined to perish.”

 

When I look around this rotunda, I see again and again, a strong foundation upon which Cumberland was built, from the photos of our historic structures, to our very first President, George Washington, looking down upon us today. 

 

As your Mayor, I look forward to working with the City Council members, all individuals who I know are dedicated to Cumberland.  I congratulate Councilmen Kauffman and Scarpelli for their elections and Councilman Hendershot for his re-election.  And I am personally quite happy that the City of Cumberland will continue to have Councilwoman Pirolozzi’s leadership.  I look forward to being a part of this team, a team that can really move our City in the right direction!

 

Like you, I care deeply for Cumberland, having been born and raised here.  I was raised by a loving family that has always been devoted to civic participation, volunteering, and giving back to the community.  I recognize all of the opportunities that Cumberland has to offer.  But, I also recognize all of the challenges facing our great city.

 

We have witnessed a deterioration of City infrastructure and it is presenting us with a challenge, particularly economically.  As our roads ache for repaving, as our water lines age, and as some of the City’s houses and commercial properties need a little more TLC, we must renew the call for us all to pull together to overcome these challenges.

 

Realistically, we are looking at City infrastructure built decades ago for a population well over double what we have now.  Even so, we are expected to maintain the same level of infrastructure, supported by only half of the people.  That’s a daunting task to say the least.

 

I firmly believe that the City’s focus over the coming years must be to maintain and restore the infrastructure of our city.  We must focus our efforts on rebuilding what we already have to make Cumberland more marketable, so that we can bring in more retail opportunities and so that we can convince employers to locate here to bring jobs to the residents.  We have to have a strong foundation to encourage new residents and growth in general. 

 

We must also stringently analyze our financial obligations and responsibilities and streamline our limited economics to secure the city’s financial future.

 

We have a unique character in the City of Cumberland and it’s essential to protect that while encouraging growth.  I believe that the best way to protect that character is to overcome our infrastructure needs.

 

A street repaving plan has already been implemented, with more streets paved during the past summer than I can ever recall at one time.  More streets will be paved again in the summer of 2011.

 

And since taking office as your Councilman in 2008, I have documented hundreds of blighted properties in our City, many of which are vacant.  In two years, more than 30 of those properties have undergone serious revitalization or have been razed.  And while that is an achievement, we still have a great distance to go.  Blight in Cumberland is a serious challenge, but one we must undertake with extreme sensitivity to our limited-income population.  I believe in an aggressive approach to handling vacant, blighted properties.  I believe that in an effort to revitalize our community, it is essential for us to begin by removing eye sores and properties that pose health and safety risks.  Owner occupied homes that are blighted must be dealt with in a way that gives all possible opportunities to property owners.  Rental properties that are seriously deteriorated should not be allowed – the residents of Cumberland deserve adequate housing, not blighted houses to live in. 

 

I believe that the real action in any city takes place at the individual level.  As your Mayor, I will continue to work together with citizens and community groups to pay close attention to what is taking place in every neighborhood in Cumberland.  I plan to work with residents and organizations to build a revitalization effort, one neighborhood at a time.

 

I recognize that the challenges ahead of us are bigger than any of us.  Difficult decisions are ahead.  I know that the changes that our community needs will not happen over night.  But working together, they will happen!

 

Over the next four years, I pledge to you that I will always put public safety first.  I will endeavor to keep taxes and fees as low as possible to sustain our community.  I will build upon the relationship already established with our new County leaders to form a partnership for one community – a partnership with County Commissioners who are already creating a cohesive, cooperative bond with municipal governments.  I will continue a commitment to growing and improving our Downtown without removing the beauty and ambiance that exists there today.  I will support economic development efforts that seek to bring employers and retailers to Cumberland.  I will use a relationship built with the County to emphasize the significance of Cumberland as the central core of our region.  I will always work for you, with you, together, to improve our city. 

 

The City of Cumberland is a beautiful and tranquil place.  It’s where people want to raise their kids and where they want to return to live a peaceful life.  We have to protect that unique set of qualities.

 

Although an idealist through and through, I recognize that we are faced with many serious challenges.  I believe that we can overcome these challenges, but doing so requires – I emphasize, REQUIRES – that everybody work together, that our City’s residents take part in their neighborhoods, join community groups and neighborhood groups, participate in cleanup programs, give input to City officials, attend Council meetings – get your hands dirty so that we can be the change we so desperately need.  We will do what is hard.  Together, we will achieve what is great.  This is a time to pull together and work together.  It is a time to reach for the stars.

 

This, the “Queen City,” can and will thrive, but doing so will require ideas.  Government is not always the answer – the people provide the ingenuity and drive that can make things happen.  Change does not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.  “Big things” are not possible if we expect somebody else to do them.  We are the change we need.  We are the change we seek.  We need to work together to bring about that change, to improve our community, to be all that we can be.

 

I look forward to serving you as your Mayor.  I will always be available to you and I need to hear from you as we move forward, together.  Thank you again for this opportunity to continue to serve the community that I know and love.