Rochester's best days are ahead of it, said Mayor Lovely Warren in her first-ever State of the City address tonight. Warren spoke at Wilson High School, her alma mater. She was introduced by Wilson's former principal, Suzanne Johnston.
Warren's speech centered around three concepts: more jobs, safer streets, and better schools. It did not include any major new initiatives, but highlighted some of the projects happening around the city, including College Town on Mount Hope, the Port of Rochester project, CityGate, the intermodal transit center, and the Sibley building on Main Street.
She did say that a revitalization of the Bulls Head neighborhood is in the works thanks to a state grant.
Warren also mentioned Rochester's application to become a global center for photonics — the city's application for federal funding has reached the final round — and the city's new Office of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives. Part of the latter is to create co-ops in struggling Rochester's neighborhoods to build wealth and create jobs.
Warren also talked about providing training for the middle-skills jobs that many people say often go unfilled because of a lack of qualified candidates.
In the area of public safety, Warren mentioned a drop in violent crime — which has really been a multi-year trend — the pending police reorganization, her Clergy on Patrol program, and the increasing diversity in public safety jobs.
Warren spent much of her mayoral campaign talking about education and the problems in the city school district, so it was surprising that she didn't have more to say about education in tonight's speech. She said that she had increased funding for the city's recreation department and libraries, and that the rec centers would spend more time focusing on education, including literacy, science, and math.