Posted by anne on Mar 18, 2022
The state of our city is strong, but recovering and changing.
In her first State of the City speech, Mayor Sharetta Smith told us that she is focusing attention on what matters most to citizens in five key areas: housing and neighborhood stability, growing our economy, public safety, students and working families, and city services. She told us that the number one priority in the 2022 budget is safety services with funding for additional personnel and increased wages. It also includes investments to expand the inventory of affordable and market rate housing, support for crime prevention programs, new technology, upgrades for the downtown streetscape, repairs to streets, sewer systems and other infrastructure, and workforce development. Smith told us that Lima has many problems, among them: wages are not keeping up with cost of living; violent crime is on the rise; only 6% of Lima residents have bachelor's degrees; a scarcity of quality housing and missing middle class and affordable housing; and 6,000 properties that need significant repairs. She says she is working on solving these problems by walking the wards and talking to people about what they want in their neighborhoods; meeting with business owners to see what support they need and meeting other elected officials to find ways to collaborate. She has created a position of Workforce and Small Business Development Specialist to help connect business owners and entrepreneurs with available resources and she also plans to create an early learning initiative, academic enrichment programs, and job training programs. She has also spearheaded the Lima Community Improvement Corporation to acquire and rehab properties in the city so they can be sold to responsible owners, and is taking a more aggressive approach to code enforcement to help rebuild neighborhoods. Smith says that by working together we can make Lima a better place to live.