COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther hopes to continue his trajectory during his second term while zeroing in on persistent issues facing certain areas of the city.
During Community Day at the Franklin Park Adventure Center Saturday, Ginther took his second oath of office in front of a crowd of families, organizations and community partners. The event showcased the city’s resources and amenities, serving lunch and allowing attendees to participate in games, activities, and conversations with one another.
From the stage, Ginther told the crowd, “Our top three priorities will remain the same: neighborhoods, neighborhoods, neighborhoods.”
He explained Community Day was a fitting way to launch his second term, resetting his mission and pledging a commitment to neighborhoods.
“We need to really commit ourselves to making sure every family in every neighborhood is sharing in Columbus’s success,” he said.
Some of the neighbors attending Saturday praised the city’s progress.
“We’re seeing a lot more development here in the inner city portions. And I think that’s a good thing,” said Monty Johnson.
Jovee Tyree Owens added, “I think the main thing for me is just the opportunities and that there’s always something going on, not to mention it’s like a big town that feels little.”
Many of the same people, including Ginther, acknowledged room for improvement. He said he wants to give people in the city’s poorest and most violent neighborhoods a seat at the table during discussions about solutions.
“We can’t just pop in and wave a magic wand and do things without first listening to the people of those neighborhoods, because they’re the ones who know what those neighborhoods need the most,” Ginther explained.
He pointed to initiatives, such as the One Linden Community Plan and the upcoming Hilltop Rising, as examples of the city’s commitment to stimulate investment. Ginther also touted the recent appointment of Police Chief Thomas Quinlan as evidence of a shifting culture within the city’s leadership ranks.
“He’s been a change-agent as interim,” Ginther said. “And I want him to continue that work, continue to change and reform, embed diversity and inclusion as a value of the Division of Police because we know there are disparities.”
Ginther hopes to continue the momentum from his previous term, focusing on improving community relations and strengthening all neighborhoods.
“We need to own the change, we need to own the reform. And that’s what this new beginning, this new decade, this new chief represents,” he said.