Helena Magazine

Letter from the Mayor – January 2023

Published 4:04 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

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Happy New Year! 2022 is officially in the books. Reflecting on the previous year allows us to celebrate the small wins and big victories, welcome our new residents, businesses and leaders, and evaluate the lessons learned. All of which continue to move our city forward in the most advantageous ways. Here goes with a few of the highlights for 2022.

I want to first, officially welcome Chris Willis as the newest city of Helena Councilmember. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Place 1 seat finishing out the current term. Chris has been instrumental in working behind the scenes for the last couple of years helping the city acquire funding sources for various first responder needs. Chris will truly be a voice for all Helena residents.

The events held this past year are really what sets us apart from other municipalities. The foundation of the events hosted by the HOT Board, Beautification Board and others are rooted in one foundational element; to bring the community together. There were so many different events this past year from the cleanup and planting day to the concerts in Amphitheater Park all summer to wrapping up the year ushering in the holiday season with the holiday market, tree lighting and parade. These boards are led by volunteers from the planning to the execution of each event, and without each one of them working together the city would not be the great city we love. Profound gratitude is owed to the volunteers that put so much time and energy into giving back to the community.

I will wrap it all up with the Teachers Assistant Grant (TAG Team Grant). When I started this grant program two years ago, I never really understood the difference it would make for teachers and students in our schools. Between the spring and fall iterations of the program, 57 teachers were awarded grants to go directly to tools that would benefit their students. A simple one-page application is leading to many tools being used directly in the classroom. From the small grant approval of $75 to the largest of $7,597 and everything in between, we have been able to play a small part in helping. Our schools are some of the best based on the leadership and teachers walking the halls daily. I will never be able to say thank you loud enough or as many times as they deserve, but this grant program is a little way that I can sure try.

Let us kick off 2023 in a way that continues to push us in strategic ways of growth, challenge us with obstacles and reward us with victories. All with one strong foundational element… community.

Together As One,