After a year in office, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones sees much work to be done.
The mayor delivered 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 into northern St. Louis in an effort to “reverse the decades of divestment in our neighborhoods.”
How this money would be spent was not specified, but it is “just a start,” the mayor said.
“With the resources St. Louis has at our disposal, we have the opportunity to drive change that St. Louisans can both see and feel on their streets,” Jones said.
Some of those funds include federal grants and the $500 million settlement that St. Louis City and other plaintiffs won from a lawsuit over the Ram’s departure.
“I truly believe that St. Louis is about to change and that our brightest days are ahead if we invest these resources wisely to have a long-term impact for generations to come,” Jones said.
Jones also proposed paid family leave and a 3 percent pay increase for all city employees to make St. Louis more competitive in hiring jobs. In addition, Jones says the city will begin collecting recycling in alleyways again in May. The service was discontinued last year due to staff shortages.
Continuing her effort to “rethink public safety,” Jones also proposed the creation of the Mayor’s Office for Violence Prevention. This new office would focus on public safety beyond policing and enforcement, as “poverty is the father of crime,” Jones said.
After the mayor’s speech, Nick Dunne, a Jones spokesman, told the… RFT the crime prevention agency is said to be a collaboration between “everyone who comes into contact with community violence,” from health leaders to police. It is not yet clear where the office will be located.
“We believe that public safety is also public health, there is a lot of overlap,” Dunne says. “The creation of this office would help streamline many of the resources we have created 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 St. Louis district administration policy director, who died in March. But one version of the statement remains pinned at the top Walker .’s Twitter page†
“Is it good? Is it sweet? Is it useful? Is it necessary? If not, keep it to yourself. We’ve got a lot of work to do for St. Louis,” Jones said.