MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange spoke his mind and fielded some tough questions Tuesday evening with neighborhood leaders from across the city. The mayor was scheduled to give his State of the City address to members of Building Our Neighborhoods For Development and Success program, commonly known as BONDS.
BONDS works with nearly 200 neighborhoods across Montgomery to provide resources necessary for growth and development. Tuesday, Mayor Strange took a more casual approach, sharing some of his concerns and hearing some of theirs.
"I used to think that I knew people very well. When I walk the streets, I think, 'What happened that lady?'" said Westcottville Neighborhood Watch Coordinator Betty Prince.
Prince says she has seen a difference in her own neighbors.
"Now they have a reason to say, 'I'm not just going to stay in my house. I'm going to come out and do whatever it takes to make it better,'" she said.
But according to her, there's still a lot that needs to be done.
"We have very few children, you know, youth in this community," she said.
Prince's neighbor, Tashina Morris, says that's because of a lack of support and development on the West side.
"We need assistance on this side, just as well as any other side of town," said Morris.
Mayor Strange addressed other concerns Tuesday as well.
"Developing West Montgomery's been a priority since 2009, when I first came in," Strange said.
Many of Strange's comments centered on Montgomery's Public School system saying it's the key to development and attracting families. He also spoke on the city's efforts to tackle dilapidated property and infrastructure.
"We're not too far from being able to streetscape. We have some utility issues we need to deal with," said Strange.
Prince and many other residents at Tuesday evening's meeting were very complimentary about Montgomery's 311 hotline and the police department, saying both are quick to respond, and make a visible difference in their neighborhoods.