RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said 2022 was tough. But she also said Raleigh has shown resilience and strength.
The year that started with record COVID-19 cases gave way to growth and renewal.
Conferences and festivals came back, and as the city continues its rebound, Baldwin said Raleigh is starting an economic development study as it continues to push revitalization in downtown and tourism city-wide.
Her big goals for the new year include continuing to tackle affordable housing, something that Baldwin also thinks will be the top challenge next year.
She is also looking forward to enhancing rapid transit and starting the process of utilizing the parks bond.
However, she admitted it is impossible to look toward the new year without reflecting and remembering the mass shooting that tragically made the community come together.
"That was probably the hardest couple of months that I've been through, that our city has been through," Baldwin said. "It was so emotional and so tragic, and you know, the hurt and the pain, you know, especially for those who lost loved ones, but the community lost.
"And, you know, we had hoped that we would never go through a mass shooting, we did, and I think it made us less naive, but it also made us more aware of what we need to do to combat gun violence," she added. "And we are becoming more proactive in that regard, working with our police chief, and working with other partners like the NAACP, and Moms Demand Action."
Baldwin said one of her goals in the new year is to continue to work to bring down gun violence and make the police department become more data-driven in its response to crime.
The deadly accident at the Raleigh Christmas Parade also scarred the city's psyche.
Baldwin said that in the wake of tragic moments, the thoughtfulness and compassion of the community came through.
"When you have tragedy, it's so hard to deal with that," Baldwin said. "But you come out stronger. And I think that there's a lot of optimism right now. I think people are looking forward to 2023, I mean, we all want to put 2022 behind us. And there is this feeling that things are getting better things are going to get better.
"And I feel optimistic about our city and our future where we're heading, and I'm also glad to see though that Raleigh really rose to the occasion, and its residents and community came together," she added. "And that's what it's all about. That's community."