In the annual report of the State of the City, Hastings Mayor David Tossava painted a picture of a vibrant city with city employees, volunteers and generous donors striving to make Hastings a special place to live by creating events and an atmosphere for its residents that also attracts more visitors to the city.
Tossava highlighted several things that makes Hastings unique before, during and beyond 2017.
The Barry Roubaix bicycle race, that had 3,000 entrants; the annual Jazz Festival featuring 4,000 students from 70 schools treating 10,000 people to music all over the city for three days in April, and Hastings Live! hosting 50 entertainment performances and events at three locations to 8,000 people were some at the top of his list.
“This isn’t just local people attending; it’s people from all over the state. Every one of these events was free to attend,” he said.
Tossava noted that thanks to its staff, the city had another successful audit this year. “The State of the City isn’t just about it financial status, it’s also about quality of life for its residents. It is our responsibility to attract new business and housing opportunities for our residents and city officials will continue to do this.
“It is fitting that our city logo says, ‘We treasure the old and progress with new.’ We will cherish our past and embrace our future! The state of the city is great and 2018 will be fantastic,” he predicted. //
Tossava highlighted some other notable events in 2017. The Veteran’s Memorial was dedicated before a huge crowd at the Veterans Plaza after the Memorial Day Parade. “I am very proud of the donations of money and labor that were given to complete this project to honor our veterans,” he said. Another successful Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament attracted 200 teams and hundreds of supporters, Jingle and Mingle’s Christmas Parade drew 6,000 people to view the 70 parade entries.
The police department sponsored National Night Out in August, with Barry County law enforcement, fire departments, EMS and first responders gathered to meet and greet thousands of people from the communities they serve. HPD graduated the third Hastings Police Cadet class and held a Cops vs. Teachers basketball game fundraiser for Star Elementary student Leo Loeks.
It took just 22 minutes for police cadets, reserves, ambassadors and officers to pump $400 worth of gas from donated gas cards to customers at the Green Street Shell Station just before Christmas; they also distributed 20 turkey dinners for families in need at Christmas.
All of the events held in Hastings take a lot of work by volunteers and staff that help coordinate events along with their regular duties, he said. The biggest is the Barry-Roubaix, with meetings to set up race routes, street closures, detours and to assign areas for volunteers to help direct traffic. The average race day starts at 4 a.m.
The police department, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Hastings Department of Public Works coordinate all their efforts to make sure the race runs smoothly and the public is kept safe. After the race, everything has to be taken down, removed and taken care of. The day usually ends around 5 p.m.
“Without the leadership of Jim James and the dedication of his crew at the Department of Public Works and their coordination with other departments, none of these events would have been successful. Our hats are off to Jim and his crew,” Tossava said.
Looking ahead, Tossava said in 2018, the Safe Routes to School sidewalk construction will begin and more marking of bicycle lanes on city streets will be done in the second phase of the Bicycle Master Plan. Improving the infrastructure, sidewalks, roads, water and sewer will continue, with improvements to city parks a priority in 2018.
Three departments, police, fire, and the DPW, are responsible for Hastings residents safety 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.