Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther says he is learning a lot from holding neighborhood conversations throughout the cities.
Instead of reaching a few hundred with a state of the city address, the neighborhood meetings with the mayor are reaching thousands.
“It’s a lot of work, but when you can increase tenfold the number of folks that are part of the conversation about the city’s priorities moving forward, it’s pretty powerful,” Ginther said.
Ginther says residents are telling him that safety, affordability and mobility are at the forefront of their concerns.
“We have great success in the growth and development of Columbus, but some seniors and working-class people feel a little bit of a squeeze,” he said. “How can we as a city make sure that seniors have the ability to age in place? How do we continue to share prosperity, to make sure this economy that is doing really well for probably two-thirds of the city benefits that third of our neighbors who have been left out?”
As far as safety initiatives are concerned, Ginther says after the city set a record number for homicides last year, officials are trying a different approach.
“This comprehensive neighborhood safety strategy that we are implementing really is going to help us use better and more effectively and efficiently our police and law enforcement resources that we have,” he said.
Ginther says the city will also be able to work more with neighborhood safety leaders, stating that the city cannot police its way out of rising crime. He says the strategy seems to be working so far, and the city will continue making investments to reduce crime. In fact, the capital budget has money set aside for a shot detection system.
Watch Colleen Marshall’s full interview with Mayor Ginther above.