As your representative in our city government and as Mayor of our great city, there are four primary areas that I am working with many others to address:
The only way we will stop losing our talented young people to other places is if we can provide them good paying jobs right here in our community. This is not an easy task because competition for these new businesses is so aggressive -- but it can be done.
We must continue to work with our local business leaders and entrepreneurs to create an environment where it is profitable for businesses to expand their operations right here in Ashland, OH. This not only means providing them with the modern infrastructure necessary to help them move their goods and services, but it also mean working with our local schools and training centers to make sure we are graduating a skilled, drug-free workforce that possesses a good solid work ethic.
We have a beautiful shovel-ready industrial park on the north side of our city and a hard-working and very focused economic development team working tirelessly to bring new businesses to our area and we must continue to provide them with the tools necessary to be successful.
We must address the recent increase in crime here in our community. Break-ins, thefts and drug-related crimes have increased over the past few years, and these crimes are often interrelated. Our local law enforcement and court officials must continue to take a firm stand against illegal drugs and those who sell them to our children. Over the years, we have always taken pride in the fact that our city is a safe place to live, work and raise a family, but we must make sure we take the steps necessary to preserve the character of our community. We must act swiftly so that we do not lose this competitive advantage.
I believe there are three primary elements necessary in order to revitalize our city:
- We need to continue to help local entrepreneurs and investors breathe new life into our downtown. Thanks to volunteers, business leaders and generous private donations great progress has already been made, but there is still much to do. We need to continue to support Main Street Ashland and help rally support behind the vision to revitalize the core of our city.
- We need to continue to improve our city’s aging, weather-worn, infrastructure. Many of our city streets are in need of repair, and thanks to our citizens support of the recent income tax, these repairs have begun. Now we need to develop an ongoing maintenance plan for our new streets to make sure they never again deteriorate to the level that we recently experienced.
- We must clean up the abandoned houses and commercial buildings that are deteriorating around our city. We need to find someone to fill them or we need to remove the buildings. The process to do so often takes time and money, but we must move forward. After all, one empty house that is unattended to on a residential street can impact the whole neighborhood’s property values and quality of life.
It is becoming more and more challenging for local governments to balance their budgets and still provide the vital services necessary to meet our residents' needs. When our financial resources are so limited, it is absolutely critical that our county and city leaders work together to find solutions to our challenges that will benefit all of us here in our community and allow us to stretch our resources.