Abilene City Manager recounts challenges and triumphs of 2020

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – 2020 has certainly been a year of surprises, and for many city leaders, they say it was about adapting and trying to move forward.

“Most of the work we had outlined obviously was completely derailed do to the global pandemic,” said Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna.

At the beginning of 2020 , the city outlined a few major goals, and at the top of the list was the downtown hotel.

Work began on the site for the newest project back in August of 2019.

When March hit, leaders were forced to make the switch from luxury to safety.

“Hospitality markets across the country are very weak at this point in time,” said Hanna.

Hanna says the project will likely be sidelined through part of 2021.

“We just don’t think now is the right time to lead Abilene out with the construction of a new hotel,” said Hanna.

While some projects were falling through the cracks, others were being filled.

“I think anytime we get a road project done, you know an angel gets its wings somewhere, especially in Abilene, Texas,” Hanna says.

The roads may not have been easy to drive on this year, but the orange cones and detours meant work was being done.

Hanna says they were able to scratch off a lot of the projects on that repair list.

“The DCOA funded ones, or the street maintenance funded ones, or the remainder of the 2015 bond election,” Hanna said.

The pandemic certainly changed a lot for the city, from rising cases to extended closures, but Hanna says the city is doing its best to make the right decisions for Abilienans.

“It’s been tiring, it’s been traumatic, it’s been difficult,” said Hanna.

Hanna says they’re hoping for a much brighter future in 2021.


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