Three years from now, South Bend should be a safer, healthier, growing community. The city’s 2019 goals set the course for achieving these marks, as our policy strategy takes on some of the most vexing issues facing America’s cities.
At the forefront is health and safety. Two years ago a report found that several South Bend census tracts had some of the highest blood lead levels in the country, thanks to lead paint in aging housing stock. Since that time, we’ve enhanced public awareness and education about the issue, expanded lead screenings through partnerships with the County Health Department and South Bend public schools and captured state and federal grant money for home remediation. This year we will continue that progress by strengthening relationships with community partners and expanding our resource base.
We want to continue making headway against violent crime via our Group Violence Intervention program, which targets at-risk youths and connects them with resources to put them on the right track. Our police department will keep engaging with residents of all backgrounds to lift up neighborhoods knowing that public safety is a community-wide effort.
2019 marks the third year of the My SB Parks and Trails initiative, a roughly $50 million plan to transform our public spaces. This year will bring the reopening of our largest downtown park, complete with some of the most innovative features in the country. And we’re making progress on our 10 Minute Walk plan, putting another 10 percent of our residents within a 10 minute walk to green spaces by 2020.
South Bend has continued its streak of steady economic and population growth, and in 2019 we hope to carry that forward. Our downtown skyline is evolving, with more residential options popping up every few months; we’ll also break ground on the first Class A downtown business space in decades. We’re taking steps to make sure these are inclusive economic gains by completing a city diversity purchasing study and expanding resources for minority- and women-owned businesses.
Lastly, we’re meeting residents where they are — in the neighborhoods. The city has optimized programs for lamp post lighting, street paving, sidewalk renewal and neighborhood cleanups. New this year is better stormwater funding to combat flooding caused by climate change, as well as a suite of home repair assistance programs to give residents a boost. We’re also working with our Common Council to introduce a rental certification program that rewards good landlords and protects renters against the rest.
In the last year of my second term, we’re pushing more than ever to empower residents and keep South Bend’s momentum rolling.
About the Author
Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the chief executive of the city of South Bend. The city’s thirty-second mayor, he was sworn into office on January 1, 2012. As mayor, Buttigieg is responsible for the city workforce of over 1,000 employees and an annual budget over $380 million.
The city of South Bend has more than 101,000 inhabitants, according to DataUSA.io.
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