Mayor Talks About Progress, Challenges In State Of City Address

He discusses issues such as safety, climate change, new ways to communicate with city officials.


Frederick, Md (KM) While the city of Frederick has experienced “extraordinary progress,” some challenges remain. That’s according to Mayor Michael O’Connor, who delivered his State of the City address on Monday at City Hall.

He said progress is being made in keeping Frederick safe. “Our police officers continue to do outstanding work, and we are trending in the right direction based on 2019 data. Our crime statistics are the lowest they have been in the city’s last 20 years,”: O’Connor said. “However, we understand the importance of feeling safe and acknowledge that crime statistics do not equate with the feeling of safety.”

But he says the Police Department is responding to that challenge. “The city and the Frederick Police Department–under the leadership of Acting Chief {Patrick} Grossman–are actively discussing steps to increase police presence, to respond to the constantly changing nature of crime in our community, and to insure our residents and visitors feel safe as they enjoy the spring and summer seasons in beautiful Frederick.”

Captain Patrick Grossman was named Acting Chief following the retirement of Chief Ed Hargis, whose last day on the job was Friday, February 21st. Mayor O’Connor said a search is underway for a successor.

On another topic, the Mayor noted that the Board of AldermenĀ  voted to establish a Department of Housing and Human Services, which includes the Community Action Agency, and will also address housing needs, He also said the search is on for a director.

“The hirings of a new police chief and director of Housing and Human Services are critical,” said the Mayor. “These leaders and their visions will greatly impact the quality of life in this community. Both will be national searches and will offer many opportunities for the community to weigh in, ask questions and share feedback.”

The Mayor also updated citizens on the progress of the proposed downtown hotel and conference center. “We continue to work with Frederick County, Visit Frederick, the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Frederick Partnership and Plamondon Hospitality Partners, and we will be announcing very shortly the path forward because we will be opening a downtown hotel and conference center,” he says.

The project is planned for the former News-Post building at the intersection of East Patrick and Carroll Streets.

Another issue addressed by the Mayor was climate change. He said it’s real and it’s here, and its effects are being experienced by some residents in the city whose properties were damaged by the 2018 flooding. The Mayor said the city’s stormwater system was not designed for 100-year floods which are occurring more frequently. “We want our residents to be safe, and we want our residents to retain the value of their properties. To help address this issue, we’re working with the US Army Corps of Engineers to design and improve stormwater systems. We will share the latest progress on these efforts later this spring,” O’Connor.

He also announced that the city is working on more opportunities to keep citizens up to date on what’s going on in their city. “These improvements include new communications channels, continued enhancements to our improved city website and dedicated staff resources,:” the Mayor says. “Our goal is to leverage timely ,accurate and complete information to better our community.”

O’Connor says there will also be more ways for residents to voice their concerns to local officials. “In addition to the one-on-one opportunities to meet with me each month at my fourth Friday Q and A sessions, we’ll introducing city town halls. I’m proud to announce for the 2020 events: an evening town hall on May 12th, and a weekend town hall on October 24th,” he says.


By Kevin McManus