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Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr. delivers his first State of the City address Wednesday morning

Jeffrey Mims Jr. speaks behind a podium at the Eichelberger Forum in the Dayton Metro Library Wednesday morning. The newly-elected Dayton mayor spoke about how the city plans to use COVID relief funding, and future investment projects.
Mawa Iqbal
Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr. delivers his first state of the city address at the Dayton Metro Library Wednesday morning. Mims spoke about how the city will invest in future projects and where Dayton needs to go from here.

Before becoming mayor, Jeffrey Mims Jr. served as a teacher and mentor for young Black men in Dayton for 40 years – some of his mentees, who he jokingly called “knuckleheads,” were at the Dayton Library forum, listening to Mims deliver his first State of the City address Wednesday morning February 9, 2022.

It’s now been 37 days since Mims became Dayton city mayor. He talked about what the city has achieved so far and where to go from here.

Mims said his first goal was continued neighborhood investment using money from the American Rescue Plan Act. He said the city received 1,700 survey responses on how to spend the money – and citizens overwhelmingly pointed to the demolition of vacant homes.

He says the city will also spend federal dollars on upgrading parks and supporting minority-owned businesses.

“Additionally, catalyzing economic development throughout the city and making sure that the dollars that we're spending on this place make it so all the citizens are feeling like they're getting a piece of the American dream,” Mims said.

The city is also planning various economic investments outside of ARPA money, including a $38 million investment in a hangar at the Dayton International airport. He says that will bring in about 150 jobs. The city is also teaming up with the Downtown Dayton Partnership to invest more than $600 million in projects like the Dayton Arcade and the convention center.

However, because more people are working from home, the city is expected to lose about 20 million dollars in income tax revenue.

“This is not a good thing for us,” Mims said. “So I'll be spending a lot of time with my partners, with the Ohio Mayors Alliance and working with legislators on a collaborative basis to make sure that we do everything we can to find ways of addressing those dollars.”

Towards the end of his address, he emphasized the importance of securing a healthy city for future generations.

“The children in this community represent 20 percent of citizens, but they represent 100 percent of our future,” Mims said.

Mawa Iqbal is a reporter for WYSO. Before coming to WYSO, she interned at Kansas City PBS's digital magazine, Flatland. There, her reporting focused on higher education and immigrant communities in the Kansas City area. She studied radio journalism at Mizzou, where she also worked for their local NPR-affiliate station as a reporter.