YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown Mayor John McNally delivered his State of the City address during the Regional Chamber’s “Good Morning Youngstown” breakfast on Friday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Social Hall.
In his first State of the City address since taking office two months ago, McNally discussed new initiatives and priorities for his administration.
“I have started to look at the role of being mayor as being sort of the chief evangelist or the chief cheerleader,” McNally said.
He already has begun some new programs such as “Five Minutes with the Mayor,” which are one-on-one meetings with residents once a month to hear complaints and comments about issues throughout the city.
McNally also said one of his priorities will be infrastructure projects and updates to existing programs and services. During the grand opening of the city’s newest fire station on Midlothian Boulevard this week, McNally praised past administrations for keeping sight of the need for updated and more efficient services throughout the city. The new fire station replaces the old Station No. 9 and is energy-efficient and built to accommodate changes in the city’s population.
McNally also promised during his campaign to work with surrounding municipalities to create a regional view of the area with the city at the center.
The first thing on his list of priorities is finding a new home for the Youngstown Municipal Court. The city will be going to the Ohio Supreme Court later this month to address concerns about conditions of the court.
“If you have ever been to Youngstown Municipal Court, whether for a parking ticket or a rental issue or a civil action, you understand the cramped and difficult conditions that the court operates in City Hall,” McNally said.
The mayor also is strongly considering selling 20 Federal Place. McNally said he does not believe the government has the financial and personnel resources to serve as an efficient landlord over the long haul.
The city already has invested more than $3 million into the building.
“So over the next few months, my administration will begin the process of consulting with and seeking the approval of City Council to transfer ownership of this downtown asset to another third party,” McNally said.
Economic development and better neighborhoods were just a couple of the other areas he focused on during his speech.
“One of the good things about the Mahoning Valley is that we have learned to work together. We don’t always agree on everything, but we have learned to work together, ultimately for economic development,” McNally said.
He commended the City’s Economic Development Department, and other economic development entities, in helping to bring new businesses to the city. The mayor also wants to continue tearing down blighted properties in the city and add more officers to the police department.
“Chief Lees is currently working with Youngstown City Council to fund hiring of seven additional police officers to create a community police unit that will work in a much more direct fashion with council people and the neighborhood groups,” McNally said. “We believe these seven additional officers will provide needed resources and the people skills to deal with quality of life concerns in our neighborhoods.”
He said there are three new proposed projects for downtown, but he did not say what they are.