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Bell: Durham 'moving in right direction'

Posted February 28

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— Durham Mayor Bill Bell delivered his final state of the city address Tuesday afternoon, saying the Bull City was “moving in the right direction.”

After 16 years as Durham’s Mayor, Bell has announced he will not be running for reelection at the end of his term.

WRAL’s Gerald Owens hosted the discussion, which began with Bell commenting on the city’s progress the last few years and specifically in 2016.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” he said.

Bell discussed a variety of topics, including access to housing, poverty, education, traffic and transportation, crime, and police and community relations, among other issues.

He said the city should be pleased with recent progress and expect more positive change, referencing the positive effects of downtown Durham’s recent growth.

In regards to traffic, Bell said he hopes the city will pursue a light rail system with the goal of improving access to education and jobs for Durham residents.

“We’re talking about a light rail system,” Bell said. “We would be making a connection between major employers in the area.”

Bell said while many communities, including Durham, have a long ways to go in terms of police and community relations, he is pleased with the progress Police Chief Cerelyn J. Davis has made.

“I think she has done an excellent job of coming in, getting on the ground and meeting people, learning their perspective and trying to communicate the police perspective,” he said.

Bell said during the remainder of his time as mayor he wants to set the city up for more progress after his time in office.

“I hope by the end of this term we will make more progress,” he said. “I consider it an honor to have served for as long as I have”

Bell said he wants Durham to serve as an example for other urban cities.

“I also hope we can use what we learned to help other communities as well,” Bell said. “Durham is growing because young millennials are choosing to stay in Durham.”

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