The appeal comes as the city continues to emerge from a two-year health crisis.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Mayor Andrew Ginter discusses public safety, pandemic recovery efforts, resilience and more on Tuesday during his speech on the state of the city in 2022.
The appeal comes as the city continues to emerge from a two-year health crisis, during which businesses were forced to close and Columbus police reported an unprecedented outbreak of violence.
Just last week, members of Columbus City Council voted to end the city mask mandate – a move Ginter quickly signed. Now the city is joining others across the state to turn the pandemic into an endemic.
However, a return to normalcy before the pandemic will require more than just the repeal of medical orders. Columbus police have responded to the largest number of homicides in the city in 2021. A review of crime trends in the city found that a small percentage of the population committed this crime.
Continuing to fight the rise in violence, Ginter announced in November that more than $ 660 million would be allocated from this year’s operating budget for public safety efforts; the largest investment of its kind in the city’s history.
City officials are now working to implement a newly developed Neighborhood Security Strategy amid a rise in violent crime reported during the pandemic.
Columbus police data show that gun violence accounted for 91% of homicides in 2021. Ginter declared gun violence a public health crisis last year and asked to include Columbus in the firearms strike group. City leaders have also formed the Columbus Alliance Against Illegal Weapons to demand gun reform.
In addition to public safety, Ginter and city officials also worked to provide residents with affordable housing. The $ 50 million affordable housing bond approved by voters in 2019 has attracted more than $ 300 million in investment to build 1,300 new affordable housing units in four years.
In terms of education, more than $ 3.5 million in funding for the rescue plan was allocated to childcare scholarships to address labor shortages; one of many attempts to set working families up for success during a pandemic.
You can listen to the full address of Ginter State of the City in the player above.