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Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley gives final State of City address

Mayor John Cranley
Posted at 6:13 PM, Oct 26, 2021

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley gave his final State of the City speech Tuesday as he prepares to leave office after eight years and pursue a run for Ohio governor.

“Eight years ago, where I hoped we would be is surpassed by where we are," Cranley said. "We are now in a city that is growing again. We have 29,000 more jobs, fewer people living in poverty, a revitalized downtown and Over-the-Rhine."

Cranley, who was elected in 2013, said the city has provided assistance on over 400 projects during his tenure and those projects created 29,000 jobs and over $5 billion in investment. Highlights include redeveloping the riverfront, revitalizing Over-the-Rhine and the ongoing renovations at Fountain Square. The Mayor cited 3CDC, the Port, Uptown Consortium and more for making this possible.

“At the biggest picture level, cities are either growing or dying and our city is growing again," Cranley said. "That fact creates all kinds of positive dividends and city growth has always been my number one priority."

Cranley said the investments made, paired with a focus on diversity and inclusion, have helped move the city forward.

“Repairing our city’s broken social contract in 2001 on police issues and in 2004 and 2014 on gay rights issues, was and are the most important elements of our city’s rebirth,” Cranley said.

Cranley voted to support the creation of the Collaborative Agreement while on City Council, a policy that helped improve police community relations after a Cincinnati police officer shot and killed Timothy Thomas, a 19-year-old Black man and initiated the Collaborative Refresh while mayor. While in office, the city has also expanded LGBTQ rights and polices at City Hall.

As gun violence continues to increase in recent weeks, Cranley said he’s been committed to reducing crime.

“We have suffered a brutal month that has killed innocent bystanders and children," Cranley said. "In July, I asked the City Manager and Chief Isaac to convene the Manager's Advisory Group to examine causes, evaluate resources and ultimately create a plan to address youth violence in our city. Their work has only begun in earnest, but it is ongoing.”

Cranley said 202 will "always have an asterisk next to it" after years of lower crime rates, but "we refused to accept the circumstances and continue to do everything in our power to keep the city safe."

In terms of economic inclusion, he noted an investment of $112 million in minority and women owned businesses since the start of the Department of Economic Inclusion in 2016 and the prioritization of reducing poverty by investing more money in Human Services.

“We’ve had a great run I think, with this mayor,” said Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, who has served on council since the start of Cranley’s tenure as mayor.

“He has a unique style of really being a visionary, pressing forward. For example, we’re standing in a place where we have FC Cincinnati, in a stadium people said would never happen,” said Smitherman. “But remember at the heart of it are the people, and I think he made it very clear tonight that our relationships, the African American, brown community with the police department is something he’ll never forget.”

Cranley admitted there have been some “dark” times over the last eight years, including the indictment of three council members for corruption, a pandemic that led to layoffs at City Hall and a mass shooting at the Fifth Third Center at Fountain Square. Still, through it all, the mayor said, "I gave it my all."

Read Cranley's entire State of the City below:

Mayor Cranley's 2021 State of the City by WCPO 9 News on Scribd