Mayor Aftab delivered his first State of The City Address to a packed crowd at Cincinnati Museum Center on November 15th. The mayor outlined the progress made on each of the strategic priorities he entered office with, while introducing new policies and initiatives that build upon equitable growth. Those initiatives include:
- A new commission led by P&G CEO Jon Moeller charged with tackling the City’s economic challenges, engaging the community and planning for the future.
- Land use policy reforms to connect neighborhoods and grow the city’s business districts.
- Reforms to the Residential Tax Abatement program to increase equity and target neighborhoods that need development.
- A special code enforcement unit to crack down on negligent out of town landlords.
- Expanding emergency rental assistance usage and Right to Counsel.
“The path that we are forging as a City is only possible because this community is filled to the brim with folks who want the best for everybody,” Mayor Aftab said. “What we all do here, it isn’t just about next year. It isn’t just about the next 10 years. We have the power to shape this city’s future for generations to come, and this is the moment when we must step up and take action.”
Over the past year, the Mayor said the City has worked hard on prioritizing equitable growth and development, public safety, climate change and the environment, affordable housing and pedestrian safety.
The City has attracted or retained more than 1,000 jobs and created over $23 million in payroll. Through our economic development incentives, another 763 jobs were created or retained. He stated that robust, equitable growth and job creation is critical to Cincinnati’s future success. To that end, the city has made historic investments in Black and Brown businesses and accelerator organizations such as MORTAR to create and grow Black wealth. Mayor Aftab acknowledged the work of Visit Cincy and other tourism organization in bringing life back into the urban core.
To improve public safety, city funding went toward a record number of fire and police hires. An alternate response pilot provided unarmed mental health professionals for over 200 non-violent 911 calls, getting residents the services they need and freeing up nearly 250 hours of officer time to focus on preventing violence.
The largest investment in mental health in our city’s history was made this year with the expansion of the City’s Human Services Fund. Organizations connected 846 families to improved childcare options. The Mayor highlighted the September opening of Bethany House‘s new family shelter, made possible by a $5 million dollar capital commitment from the city.
To address Climate Change, the City is creating a community vision for what a sustainable, equitable and resilient future looks like through the Green Cincinnati Plan. The City is pursuing an EPA grant to address environmental justice issues concentrated in the Lower Mill Creek Corridor to improve the quality of life and economic outlook for the predominantly Black and brown communities that were impacted by the industry of the last century.
When it comes to affordable housing, the City created the first-ever sustainable stream of revenue to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. We also incentivized the creation or renovation of over 1,029 units of housing. 417 of them are affordable, and 391 are at or below 60% AMI.
Various pedestrian safety measures have been implemented, including new speed cushions, bump outs, and crosswalks in 15 neighborhoods to date, and we plan on that number growing in the year to come.
Click here to watch a recording of the 2022 State of the City addresss.