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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Dan Horrigan’s 2021 State of the City Address Provides Vision for Ongoing Economic and Social Recovery

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Federal American Rescue Plan funds will be used to address critical issues including youth/community violence, neighborhood development, and

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt
Published: 08-10-2021

Akron, Ohio, August 9, 2021 – This evening, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan delivered his 2021 State of the City Address to a gathering of community, business, and neighborhood leaders during an evening event at the Akron Civic Theatre.  The roughly 30 minute speech was an opportunity to unite a community grappling with economic and social upheaval, loss, and uncertainty in the wake of the pandemic. 

The last State of the City Address was delivered on February 26, 2020 – just 11 days before the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Ohio. Tonight, Mayor Horrigan provided a personal look into the challenges City Hall faced throughout the last year and a half, and shared his vision for citywide recovery. 

Looking back on 2020, Mayor Horrigan said “Some days the best I could hope for was an opaque view of what was ahead.  But, my faith in Akron never wavered.” He went on to share what he calls “the beginning of that path forward” and “a solid foundation for our recovery.”

“This isn’t about going back to the ways we have always done things,” he added, “but creating an even better future—one that works for every single one of us.”

That recovery starts with federal support in the form of roughly $145 million provided to the City of Akron under the American Rescue Plan (revised from an initial estimates of $153 million).  The funds will be spent in six areas in critical need of investment:

  • Housing: $25 Million
  • Public Utility Support: $30 Million
  • Local Economic Recovery: $21 Million
  • Youth Violence Prevention: $24 Million
  • Parks and Public Facilities: $30 Million
  • City IT and Budget Stabilization: $15 Million                             

With respect to housing, Mayor Horrigan shared his proposal to spend $15 million on housing rehabilitation and an additional $10 million to support infill construction to buttress neighborhoods hardest hit by past and current economic downturns. 

In the realm of local economic recovery, Mayor Horrigan talked about the Akron Resiliency Fund, which has seen early success eliminating barriers for small businesses in need of capital.  He also detailed his plan to work to see that a downtown community development corporation (CDC) is developed for Downtown and to continue to work with the Elevate Akron partners to accelerate local economic momentum and equitable growth.  

Mayor Horrigan also spoke about the dual challenges presented by spikes in violent crime and community calls for police reform.  He urged the audience to heed the recommendations of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Taskforce, due at the end of the year. He also expressed his commitment to working alongside new Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett to urgently develop and advance strategies to address violent crime in Akron neighborhoods.

The City will be tackling the root causes of youth and community violence with an initial $10 Million investment into violence prevention initiatives, using a robust, sustainable, culturally competent approach, built on the priorities established by the Youth Violence Prevention taskforce.   The City will also invest tens of millions into creating safe, equitable, welcoming spaces for Akronites to gather, play, imagine, and thrive.  The City will completely renovate several community centers including Patterson Park, Ed Davis & Perkins Pool, and Reservoir Park.  Finally, the speech outlined plans to invest further into Summit Lake and Lock 3 Park downtown—two critically important assets to Akron’s social and economic future.

Mayor Horrigan closed the speech with a hopeful message, rooted in Akron’s long history of rising to meet generational challenges with courage and resolve.

“Akron was once called the Rubber City because we made tires. We keep the title now because we are resilient—we bounce back,” Mayor Horrigan said, adding, “I am confident in Akron’s recovery strategy, and in our ability to see it through. My faith in Akron, like the state of this City, is resilient, strong, and founded on perpetual hope.”

He asked the community to join him in the work that lies ahead: “Together, we can reinvest in Akron at levels not seen in a century.”

A full copy of Mayor Horrigan’s 2021 State of the City Speech is available here.

For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary and Senior Strategic Counsel
Phone: 330-375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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