DOVER — After a year marked by a global pandemic, social unrest and a tornado touching down in Delaware, Mayor Robin Christiansen reflected on the challenges that have faced his constituents during his state of the city address.
“The faith, prayers, strength and resolve of the men and women and children of this community have allowed us to come roaring back bigger, better and stronger than ever,” he said.
Mayor Christiansen’s speech was delivered during the annual city council meeting held Monday.
He offered his thanks to medical professionals — who he called “our frontline of defense against the pandemic” — for their work during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Christiansen also thanked the city’s police officers, volunteer firefighters and emergency service personnel for their efforts throughout the pandemic as well.
After thanking city employees for their work and the citizens of Dover for their patience as the city continues to navigate the pandemic, Mayor Christensen said the Dover community is one that comes together. He said this was especially true when a tornado touched down in the area last August.
“Everyone joined hands and hearts to rescue, restore and return our city to normal,” Mayor Christiansen said.
He thanked Team Rubicon, a team of veterans who helped clean up the city in the aftermath of the tornado, and other civic groups for their efforts.
Having hired a new chief of the Dover Police Department last year, Mayor Christiansen said the city “grew in its accountability” under Chief Thomas Johnson’s leadership.
While Mayor Chirstiansen praised Chief Johnson for instituting changes prior to the nationwide call for police reform in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, he said the unrest that resulted accelerated review of Dover Police Department’s policies and policing.
He praised Chief Johnson for implementing “community policing” that places an emphasis on community cooperation and trust.
Despite the pandemic, Mayor Christiansen said the city of Dover has experienced growth — such as the new Delmarva Corrugated Packing facility that will offer 180 jobs when completed. He highlighted more growth with the construction of two middle schools, a U.S. Post Office and plans for a new family court building.
“Dover continues to be in the business to do business,” Mayor Christiansen said. “A new day is dawning in Dover.”
Mayor Christiansen also used his speech to push for the council to invest in the city’s aging infrastructure saying the council “cannot kick the can further down the road.”
Though the pandemic impacted many city events, Mayor Christiansen said those that did occur helped to provide “encouragement for the future.” He thanked the organizers who hosted those events.
Mayor Christiansen also thanked outgoing at-large Councilman Tim Slavin for his service to the city. Mr. Slavin did not seek re-election and Councilperson Andre Boggerty was voted into office in April.
Mayor Christiansen called Mr. Slavin a “voice of calm and reason” and a “true servant” to the people of Dover.
With its graduation ceremony on Saturday, Mayor Christiansen paid tribute to Wesley College as a “storied and historic institution” that has been an integral part of the city, he said.
“A new vision and partnership with endless possibilities begins for the university and the city,” Mayor Christiansen said of the college’s merger with Delaware State University.
Drawing his speech to a close, Mayor Christiansen thanked the council for honoring their commitment to the current and future citizens of Dover.
“I still believe in Dover and I hope you do too,” he said.