St. Louis Mayor's State of the City Address Calls for More Work to Be Done

click to enlarge Mayor Tishaura Jones gave her first inaugural State of the City address. - MONICA OBRADOVIC
Monica Obradovic
Mayor Tishaura Jones gave her first inaugural State of the City address.

After a year in office, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones sees a lot of work that still needs to be done.

The mayor gave her first State of the City address at Harris Stowe University Tuesday night, just a day before her one-year anniversary of taking office. Jones made several proposals in her speech, including a commitment to funnel $150 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to north St. Louis in an effort to "reverse decades of disinvestment in our neighborhoods."

How this money would be spent was not specified, but it’s “just a start," according to the mayor.

“With the resources St. Louis has at our disposal, we have the opportunity to create change St. Louisans can both see and feel on their streets,” Jones said.

Some of those resources include federal grants and the $500 million settlement St. Louis city and other plaintiffs won from a lawsuit over the Ram’s departure.

“I truly believe that St. Louis is on the precipice of change, and that our brightest days lie ahead if we invest these resources wisely to make a long-term impact for generations to come,” Jones said.

Jones also proposed paid family leave and a 3 percent raise for all city employees to make St. Louis more competitive in job hiring. Additionally, Jones says the city will restart alleyway recycling collection in May. The service came to a halt last year due to a staff shortage.

In a continuation of her effort to “reimagine public safety,” Jones also proposed the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Violence Prevention. This new office would address public safety beyond policing and enforcement, since “poverty is the father of crime,” Jones said.

After the mayor’s address, Nick Dunne, a spokesman for Jones, told the RFT the crime prevention office would be a collaboration between “everyone who touches community violence,” from health leaders to police. It's unclear where the office will be located.

“We believe that public safety is also public health, there’s a lot of overlap in between,” Dunne says. “The creation of this office would help streamline a lot of the resources we’ve created in order to approach public safety and community violence from a public-health approach.”

Jones concluded her speech by quoting words from her “forever junior.” The mayor did not attribute these words to Cora Faith Walker, the former policy director for the St. Louis county executive, who died in March. But a version of the statement remains pinned to the top of Walker’s Twitter page.

“Is it good? Is it kind? Is it useful? Is it necessary? If not, feel free to keep it to yourself. We’ve got a whole lot of work to do for St. Louis,” Jones said.

About The Author

Monica Obradovic

Monica Obradovic is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times.
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