CLEVELAND — Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson wrapped up his unprecedented 16-year, four-term run as Cleveland Mayor during his final State of the City address at Cleveland Public Hall.
The hour-long Oct.7 address outlined a series of the mayor's accomplishments and also focused on some of the cities biggest remaining challenges, including growing gun violence and improving the quality of low-income neighborhoods.
“Violent crime is a major problem," Jackson said. “The Cleveland Police Department has seized over 2,300 guns so far this year, which is an increase of 41% over last year.”
“Things will get worse unless we take some immediate actions in regards to the availability of guns.”
Jackson also talked about the gun violence taking place around city recreation centers and the city's efforts to reduce the issue.
“All staff members have been trained to identify trauma and toxic stress and will continue to get training," Jackson said.
Jackson thanked his cabinet, the cities 7,000 employees, and Cleveland residents during the address. The mayor also thanked those who reached out in support after the tragic shooting death of his grandson, Frank Q. Jackson, on Sept. 19.
“And from my family, I want to thank you for your kindness and your prays during our bereavement,” Frank Jackson said.
The majority of Cleveland residents who attended Jackson's final State of the City address gave the mayor praise for his 16-year effort.
But long-time residents like Diane Howard and Sandy Scott said they do have some concerns over the future of Cleveland, especially when it comes to crucial issues still plaguing the city.
“A lot of people don’t think so, but I think he did a great job,” Howard said “But we have to fight gun violence, fight lead poisoning among our children, and fight for better education.”
“I like the fact that he was no non-sense," Scott said. “I do think 16 years is enough for anybody, but looking towards the future, I’m a little bit nervous about where we're going.”
Jackson also touted leaving a large surplus in the general, enterprise, and utility budgets for the next administration. However, the mayor admitted Cleveland Public Power and Cleveland Water rate hikes for consumers are likely on the way in the near future.