In Mayor Tishaura Jones’s first State of the City address, marking a year since her inauguration, she said that despite the city’s problems St. Louis is on the precipice of transformative change.
Jones spoke Tuesday at Harris Stowe State University.
Citing her family’s roots in north St. Louis, Jones described the changes she has seen in St. Louis throughout her lifetime and emphasized the opportunity offered by the American Rescue Plan Act to reverse decades of disinvestment in neighborhoods.
Jones announced a $150 million investment in north St. Louis. She emphasized that economic empowerment, neighborhood transformation and equitable development are critical to reducing the racial wealth gap in St. Louis. She said her administration hoped to leverage the ARPA funds so they would spark long-term impact even after they expire in 2026.
The city has already allocated millions in direct ARPA aid for families and neighborhoods across St. Louis, through programs including Direct Cash Assistance, COVID-19 vaccine incentives, Gateway Go MetroTransit passes for youth, and SLDC’s STL Small Business Grant Fund.
Jones then proposed a three percent pay raise for city employees across the board on top of their annual step increase as well as paid family leave, to help departments hire and keep employees. Retention incentives funded through ARPA would aid that effort, she said.
Jones also reaffirmed her commitment to improving public safety by deploying the right professionals to ease the burden of police officers responding to violent crime. The administration is currently reviewing proposals funded through $5.5 million in ARPA for addiction treatment programs, the expansion of violence interrupters and tackling root causes of neighborhood crime.
The State of the City program included a message of welcome from Harris Stowe President Latonia Collins Smith, a presentation by the Clyde C. Miller Academy ROTC Color Guard, Kennedy Moore singing the National Anthem, a performance by Phil Woodmore and the Phil Woodmore Singers Kidz, an opening invocation by Bishop Michael Jones of Friendly Temple Baptist Church and a closing prayer by Pastor Anthony Riley of Central Baptist Church.
A transcript of Jones’ remarks is available on the city’s website.