For those I have not yet had the chance to meet, I’ve had the privilege of serving as your mayor since January. I am a husband, father, small business owner, and former councilmember. I am honored to serve you in this new role. My “default setting” is to be conservative in philosophy and demeanor. When I vary from that setting, it’s hopefully to creatively solve a problem. “Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good” seems a pretty good yardstick to measure our service to you.

But as Mike Tyson said, “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Priority No. 1, of course, is to complete our navigation out of the COVID-19 pandemic and put the city’s posture back toward long-term growth and prosperity for our residents. Full credit goes to former Mayor Tanya Velishek and the recent Jordan City Council for leaving us a strong foundation. Your current council is likewise focused on using whatever inherent leverage the city has, as well as prioritizing state and federal support, to assist those who have suffered losses from the pandemic and the shutdowns that it triggered.

As for growth, a growing body of evidence suggests that the post-pandemic era could benefit communities like Jordan. By that, I mean livable, “whole” communities like Jordan, with affordable housing, great schools, good infrastructure (physical and digital) and strong community values. I would add — a community identity. In my opinion, that describes Jordan perfectly.

On behalf of the council, we are prepared (and preparing) to market those attributes aggressively while protecting what makes us special. Specifically, there are several interesting new housing projects that are in various phases of development. These new neighbors will be a boon to our town! More customers to patronize our local restaurants and stores, share the cost of our city services and infrastructure, and more students for Jordan’s public and private schools.

A correlation to residential growth, we’re focusing on completing the city’s longstanding priority, the interchange at highways 169 and 282. You will start to see progress toward that objective starting this summer, with construction of “phase 1” beginning this spring on a new roundabout at Highway 282 and Creek Lane, a beefed-up access to U.S. Highway 169 from Creek Lane, and new, safer entrances and exits at Wolf Motors, Radermacher’s and Ace Hardware.

Our business community supports these projects, but they will be disruptive for a few months during construction. I encourage you to budget a little extra time and patience for these trips; but please make them a priority. As we all have learned — shopping locally is necessary for healthy communities.

At last week’s council meeting, the council voted to go out to bid for our legal and engineering services. That move is not a reflection on our current providers, but rather a reflection of our desire to be good stewards of your tax dollars, and “shop” occasionally for even the most fundamental city services. We want to ensure we are getting the best value for your tax dollar. This was a longstanding priority of mine, and I am pleased to have made progress on that so early in this term of service.

As we build Jordan together, my hope is that stakeholders will find that Jordan sets clear expectations, is flexible within those boundaries, creative in solving problems, and always delivers world-class customer service.

My fellow councilmembers, the volunteers on city committees, and our dedicated staff are all oriented toward this same goal. This job isn’t about us, it’s about you. Each of us are honored to serve you, and we are focused on doing that work well.

Mike Franklin is the mayor of Jordan.