Mayor Ron Anders

Auburn Mayor Ron Anders highlighted many topics, including growth, and presented awards to six Auburn residents at the third annual State of the City Address at the Gogue Performing Arts Center on Monday.

The first topic Anders touched upon has been one of the most important and consequential for Auburn over the past decade and will be for the foreseeable future — growth. The recently released results from the 2020 Census show that Auburn's population has grown to more than 76,000 people, making our Loveliest Village the seventh largest city in the state of Alabama. 

Auburn's population stood at 53,380 as of 2010, and the nearly 43 percent increase in population over the last decade has spurred significant residential and industrial development, and prompted Auburn City Schools to enact an aggressive construction program that has brought several new schools online, with more planned, including a second high school. The City has issued nearly 1,300 permits for a wide range of residential and commercial projects over the last year with a total value of $410 million, which translates into 648 single-family homes, Anders said.

"I'm excited about Auburn's future," said Anders. "Our traditions, our charm and our spirit will always exist as long as we continue to support and uplift each other and work intentionally together to build Auburn's future."

Anders also noted the City's efforts to combat the cornonavirus, including spearheading the Community Vaccine Clinic, which was instrumental in getting vaccine doses into residents' arms early this spring. The pandemic also put on hold and further delayed the process of putting together the Auburn 2040 Plan, which will use input from residents to help chart the course of the city's future. The Auburn 2040 Plan process was initially planned for the summer of 2020, but was delayed a year. It started back up this summer, but was again put on hold after a spike in cases of Covid-19 in the area. 

Anders said no one is more eager to get the 2040 process moving again, while encouraging residents to be involved. 

"A vision plan like Auburn 2040 only works with you and because of you," he said. "It only works when we can take time to be intentional and deliberate in considering Auburn's future."

Anders touched upon many other topics before handing out the annual Mayor's Lamplighter Awards, which recognize residents who "quietly light the lamps for our City." This year's recipients include Pat Giddens, a longtime employee of J&M Bookstore; Glen Gulledge, owner of Byron's Smokehouse; LaDextric Oliver, coach and teacher at Wrights Mill Road Elementary; Janie Price, organizer of  "Park and Pray" at East Alabama Health; Nolan Torbert, pastor of True Deliverance Holiness Church; and Greg Williams, the founder and coach of Auburn University's equestrian program. 

Check out the Villager in the coming weeks to see profiles highlighting each of the recipients of the Mayor's Lamplighter Awards. 

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