Earlier today, I had the great privilege of sharing my annual State of the City address. In it, I reflected on our collective achievements and laid out our roadmap for the journey ahead. If you haven’t watchedor read the full speech, you can do so anytime.
For now, however, I want you all to know that the state of our city is strong and getting stronger every single day. We’ve made incredible progress on a wide-variety of fronts, including:
- Reducing homicides by 33% in 2022, the largest-single percentage drop among the 20 largest cities in the country,
- Implementing more policing reforms on a faster timetable than ever before in city history,
- Passing commonsense gun safety legislation,
- Creating more than 27,000 jobs since the day I first took office,
- Securing $50 million as part of our city’s first-ever voter-approved bond package specifically for affordable housing, which ultimately leveraged $300 million in public- and private-sector support to build more than 1,300 new units,
- Launching the Columbus Housing Strategy and Regional Housing Coalition to address Central Ohio’s growing housing needs in partnership with neighboring municipalities,
- Awarding nearly $400 million in city contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses since 2016,
- Activating the city’s first-ever Climate Action Plan which will enable us to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,
- Investing the vast majority of our federal stimulus dollars – totaling hundreds of millions of dollars – to keep our residents in their homes, put food on their tables, help them pay their utility bills, keep local businesses afloat and expand summer programming for Columbus youth,
- Enhancing our tremendous parks system with several new and improved facilities, fields, courts and programs,
- Establishing the Columbus Promise to cover the full cost of tuition and fees for Columbus City Schools graduates who attend Columbus State.
Those are just a few notable accomplishments, but they all contribute, in meaningful ways, to my overarching vision for our city: I want Columbus to be the very best community in the country, and I want everyone to share in our success.
The way we’ll get there is by continuing to improve neighborhood safety, making Columbus more affordable for more families, and by providing top-notch city services that empower all of our neighbors and businesses to thrive. Here’s how we’re doing it:
- Getting more officers on the streets more quickly, with current projections showing we’ll have more officers next year than ever before in our city’s history,
- Significantly reorganizing our police forces, making sure we have the right number of officers in the right parts of the city at the right times,
- Standing up the city’s first-ever Office of Violence Prevention – which also happens to be the first of its kind in the state,
- Continuing to partner with the U.S. Department of Justice to review policing in Columbus, including a closer examination of our use-of-force policies,
- Investing the $200 million in bond funding approved by Columbus voters last fall for more affordable housing,
- Overhauling the city’s Zoning Code to build the housing we need more quickly,
- Going after illegal dumping by dedicating more staff and vehicles to focus on litter and dumping,
- Opening two new Waste and Reuse Convenience Centers at the Alum Creek and Georgesville Road collection stations, starting this summer,
- Expanding residential curbside recycling from every other week to a weekly basis, also starting this summer,
- Following the recommendations of the Recovery and Resiliency Advisory Committee to devote the remaining balance of our federal stimulus dollars to support the most basic needs of our residents and businesses,
- Rolling out a resident-driven plan for the Eastland neighborhood, following the example of our neighbors in Linden and the Hilltop and the plans they’ve developed – which have since generated $150 million in public and private investments in those areas,
- Launching a new after-school program for middle school students to help keep them safe, healthy, active and engaged.
As you can see, our work continues – and there are many other actions we’re taking to create a safer, stronger, more inclusive Columbus. We’re always coming up with new solutions that meet the demands of the day and anticipate what tomorrow will bring. We always have our eyes fixed on the next horizon, and we always tap into the power of collaboration to transform our aspirations into a reality.
That is the foundation for a stronger future, and I look forward to building it, together.
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