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      State of the City Address: Mayor Steve Benjamin

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Hundreds packed the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center for The City of State Address Wdnesday night.

      "Our vision is coming true. It's our present meeting our potential. It's our City finally living up to it's promise," said Mayor Steve Benjamin Wednesday evening.

      Some of those promises include, bringing more jobs to the Midlands,r evitalizing the heart of Columbia, and keeping the community safe.

      "Metro unemployment has fallen from 9.5% since the day I took office to 7.6% today outpacing our state and national recovery," said Benjamin.

      The Mayor then spoke about the 22 new businesses Downtown which has Main street thriving.

      Also recognized, Steve Gant for his efforts during his tenure. The Mayor presented the outgoing City Manager with a key to the city, and then asked new incoming manager Teresa Wilson to make good on a promise to give Columbia firefighters a raise.

      This is a move Columbia native Cathleen Brown agrees with.

      "Finally they are getting rewarded for what's being done," said Brown.

      The retired school teacher said tonight's address leaves her with a positive perspective on where Columbia is heading.

      "I've seen the City go down, and now it's coming back up and I'm very excited about that," said Brown.

      Keeping Columbia on that upward track is part of Mayor Benjamin's vision.

      "We are Columbia folks and we are just getting started," Benjamin concluded.