ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Mayor, Tishaura Jones, delivered her first “State of the City” address Tuesday night at Harris Stowe State University.

On the eve of her inauguration, Mayor Tishaura Jones emphasized how she believes her administration has worked toward improving the city through programs such as direct cash assistance, COVID-19 vaccine incentives, Metro transit passes for youth, and more.

“St. Louis is not a poor city. We are a cheap city, “said St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones. “And now with the resources at our disposal, we are trying new and innovative ways to invest directly into families and communities.”

Much of her speech focused on how the 500 million dollars flowing in from The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will fund upgrades to the city on every level.

This extends to economic empowerment, neighborhood transformation, and equitable development in order to “reduce the racial wealth gap in St. Louis.”

Jones also proposed a $150 million commitment to north St. Louis.

“Imagine a grocery store with healthy food options just down the block, affordable childcare on the way to work, stable housing for families,” said Mayor Jones.

Public safety is also a top priority. She highlighted “relieving the burden of police officers” by increasing groups to care for the mentally ill including social workers and the “Cops and Clinicians” program.

She also announced her proposal for the creation of “The Mayor’s Office of Violence Prevention” to “marshall all of the community, alternative response, and enforcement resources at our disposal to improve public safety – and improve the relationship between police and our communities.”

“I want to look forward 10, 20 years from now, and see a St. Louis that is safer for our babies, where they can walk to a friend’s house without fear, danger, or trauma,” said Jones.

The administration plans to use $5.5 million in ARPA funds  for “addiction treatment programs, the expansion of violence interrupters, and more to address root causes of crime in neighborhoods.”

Ending on a positive note, Jones proposed a 3% pay raise and paid family leave for city employees.

“Black girl magic doesn’t come with a wand. We can’t fix decades of old problems overnight or even in one year,” said Mayor Jones. “But I am always ready to learn, and I am ready to work with anyone if it means delivering for my city.

You can read the full speech transcript, click here.

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed released the following statement after Jones’ speech:

After more than 240 days, I’m glad to hear that the Mayor has finally joined myself and other city leaders in her willingness to target ARPA funds in North St. Louis. Although her proposal lacks specifics and dollars, it’s good to hear Mayor Jones finally make a verbal commitment to giving the people of North St. Louis the help they so desperately need. From the beginning, this has been a clear priority of the Board of Aldermen.

There have now been two board bills that have been sent to her desk both with unanimous favorable votes, the first had the funding for North St. Louis removed by a line-item veto. After tonight’s remarks, my hope is that history doesn’t repeat itself.

I’m glad that the Mayor chose to highlight many of the programs that the Board of Aldermen fought to have included in the first round of ARPA funding such as the Small Business Grant Program, the Nothing But Net Basketball League, funding for Cure Violence, and others.

I have to give special thanks to the many residents who called the Mayor’s Office and let their voices be heard about the importance of real funding for North St. Louis and their desire to not have permanent homeless tent encampments in vacant parking lots in their neighborhoods. I look forward to moving the next allocation of ARPA funds through the Board of Aldermen with a special emphasis in North St. Louis.

After one year in office, it is my hope the Executive Branch is able to move these funds much, much more expeditiously than previous allocations and that there is real transparency in the amounts that have been
spent.