AKRON, Ohio — During the 2021 State of the City address, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan touched on housing, youth violence prevention and economic recovery during this roughly 30-minute speech held at the Akron Civic Theatre Monday.
Horrigan provided a look into the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic and shared his vision for a citywide recovery effort.
His last State of the City address was delivered on Feb, 26, 2020, just 11 days before the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ohio.
“Some days the best I could hope for was an opaque view of what was ahead. But, my faith in Akron never wavered,” he said, looking back on 2020.
“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.”
Horrigan shared how he plans to allocate the roughly $145 million in federal support provided to the City of Akron under the American Rescue Plan.
The funds will be spent in six key areas:
- 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
In terms of housing, Horrigan proposed spending $15 million on housing rehabilitation and an additional $10 million to support infill construction to buttress neighborhoods hit arrest by economic downturns.
Horrigan discussed the challenges presented by spikes in violent crime and community calls for police reform.
He told the audience to watch out for the recommendations of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Taskforce due at the end of the year. In 2020, Akron declared racism a public health crisis and vowed to create policy change recommendations to address the racial wealth divide in Akron and ways to create a racially equitable community.
To tackle the root causes of youth and community violence, Horrigan said $10 million will be used to establish violence prevention initiatives while also investing in more spaces for Akron residents to gather and play.
The city will renovate several community centers including Patterson Park, Ed Davis and Perkins Pool and Reservoir Park.
"Akron was once called the Rubber City because we made tires. We keep the title now because we are resilient—we bounce back,” said Horrigan. “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.”
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