NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell offered his vision for the city’s future on Wednesday.

Delivering his annual State of the City speech during a luncheon hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, Mitchell touted his success so far in improving the city’s neighborhoods, schools and finances, making for a “safer and cleaner” New Bedford. But he also acknowledged there’s a lot of work still to be done.

“New Bedford is pointed in the right direction and solidly progressing,” Mitchell said.

The mayor spoke at length about three pillars he believes will help keep the city moving forward:

  1. “First, we must make the most of our competitive advantages to attract and grow capital to create job opportunities for our residents;
  2. “Second, we must nurture a high quality of life, both as an end itself and as a means of attracting investment;
  3. “Third, we must reinforce our sense of place, which energizes us to do the work to improve it.”

WATCH: Mitchell’s full State of the City address (story continues below)

In an effort to ramp up policing in troubled areas, the city is offering $5,000 sign-on bonuses for new recruits.

Mitchell announced plans to launch a 311 system so residents can report various issues, but joked the city “isn’t a maid service.”

“We aren’t going to mow your lawn or trim your hedges. And it isn’t to much to ask residents to keep up their own properties,” he said.

“This time next year, residents will be able to dial 311 to request non-emergency public realm services: potholes, fallen tree branches, graffiti,” Mitchell explained. “I believe 311 system shouldn’t just be for big cities.”

Mitchell discussed how the city is becoming a leader in the offshore wind industry, with the first components for “America’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project” set to arrive this month at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal.

He also highlighted several projects planned for this year:

  • Resuming passenger rail service between New Bedford and Boston
  • Putting finishing touches on 40-year cleanup of New Bedford Harbor
  • Moving ahead with plans for mixed-use development at state pier
  • Opening the nation’s first offshore wind training institution at Bristol Community College
  • Turning restored First Baptist Church into a a performing arts venue
  • Secured funding to replace the New Bedford airport terminal
  • Planning underway to replace the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge

Mitchell, a Democrat who first took office in 2011, is up for reelection in the fall. During a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers earlier this year, he said he wasn’t yet sure if he’ll run for another four-year term.

Below is a transcript of the speech provided by the mayor’s office.