By Dan Murphy
Mayor Mike Spano delivered his 10th State of the City address on March 23, proudly proclaiming to residents of New York’s 3rd largest city that Yonkers survived the COVID pandemic and is making progress on all aspects of good. -being and the quality of life of a city. Spano’s speech looks back on his ten years as mayor, which coincides with the progress Yonkers has seen over the same period, but also highlights new initiatives and envisions a bright future for the third-largest city. of New York State.
Unstoppable was the theme of Mayor Spano’s 2022 State of the City address. Spano closed the two-year pandemic that gripped Yonkers, New York State and our nation, as “A chapter that unifies
rather than dividing.
Spano also highlighted the educational successes Yonkers have seen under his leadership. “Thanks to the continued collaboration with our talented Yonkers School Board and Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Quezada, our schools opened their doors five days a week last September. Since
Next, our district distributed over 75,000 COVID-19 PCR tests, facilitated 27 vaccination sites, and conducted weekly surveillance testing at every school. And during the pandemic, Yonkers schools have bridged the digital divide that the pandemic has only highlighted, purchasing nearly 13,000
Chromebooks, laptops and iPads.
What is even more impressive is the perseverance of our students in these very turbulent times. Quarantines, illness, remote learning and masks haven’t stopped them from succeeding. And the numbers prove it. Once again, I am proud to share that our graduation rates continue to rise. Ninety-point-seven percent of the class of 2021 graduated, making Yonkers the first and only Big 5 City district in New York to accomplish such a feat. And 52% of those graduates earned advanced designation degrees. Ladies and gentlemen, in just 10 years, Yonkers Public Schools have increased their graduation rate from 72% to 90%.
— an 18% increase,” said Spano, who gave his speech in the auditorium at Lincoln High School, which had just completed a $3 million renovation. This decision to deliver the SOC to LHS was a good one, it highlighted the Mayor’s rebuilding of Yonkers Public Schools while bringing a modern, high-tech feel to the talk.
Spano highlighted the effort to rebuild Yonkers Schools, which is “finally seeing the fruits of our advocacy efforts. I was incredibly proud to stand alongside many of you recently as we inaugurated the new
Justice Sonia Sotomayor Community School on McLean Avenue – the first new Yonkers public school built in over 20 years.
“Black and brown students make up 75% of our Yonkers public schools. It’s time to update the names of the schools to better reflect the accomplishments of notable members of these communities.
I am pleased to announce that later this school year, the Yonkers Board of Ed will officially rename Palisades Prep as The Barack Obama School for Social Justice. And rename School 13 to The Mirabal Sisters Community School. These invincible and dedicated leaders who overcame great political and social conflicts and
are symbols of what our students can become and aspire to be.
Spano pointed to hard data showing that crime is down in Yonkers. “Unlike the spike in crime seen across the country, Yonkers is bucking the trend. Crime in Yonkers is down 10% since this time last year. And not only are we one of the safest cities in America, but we’re the safest major city in all of New York State. But probably the most impressive statistic to share with you is that we’re down 44% in crime since we took office 10 years ago.
“Our police service is also diversifying its presence in our neighborhoods. Last year, I told you how we invested in our recruiting efforts to develop a more diverse candidate pool for the next generation of Yonkers police officers. I’m happy to report that 56% of those who qualify for hire identified themselves as a minority for the 2021 test. And of those who took our specialist test prep course, “Be the Change” , 58% of them obtained a sufficient score to be hired in the coming years.
Other Topics in the State of the City Address:
I’m proud to say that the City of Yonkers is here to help protect you from the weight of these increases. Introducing Westchester Power to our residents this month allows you to benefit from a competitive fixed rate on clean energy, for the next 18 months, with options to join or leave the program at
at any time. We take the fear out of waiting for your monthly Con Ed bill – with the added benefit of knowing you’re helping to green our electrical grid.
“But perhaps one of our biggest investments in protecting your wallet this year is recognizing how our energy sources are changing. 30% by 2025. To offset our dependence on natural gas and encourage the use of cleaner, greener energy,
Yonkers is increasing the installation of electric charging stations across the city by another 100. This is real progress.
Increase of the population: Hollywood on Hudson
“Since the 2020 census, Yonkers has beaten Rochester to become the third largest city in New York State. Be sure to add this to your Yonkers quality elevator pitch! While I like to brag about our new claim to fame, it’s important to realize that it’s more than a witty slogan. With 211,000 inhabitants, our growing population offers us the possibility of better financing our schools, our infrastructures,
health and social programs.
“However, the 2020 Census didn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know – and that is that Yonkers is experiencing an unprecedented economic revitalization with nearly $5 billion in private investment over the past 10 years. And despite a global pandemic that crippled our nation, Yonkers came out stronger, and at
at the end of the year proudly boasted a 3.6% unemployment rate – the lowest in more than 30 years and the lowest among the state’s five major cities. Proving once again, despite all odds, we are unstoppable!
“With Lionsgate opening last month and Phase 2 completion expected in 2023, Yonkers
will house the largest modern production campus in the Northeast, with over one million square feet of production space and 12 giant stages.
“We want to make sure that when the tide comes in, the boats come in with it – and that means jobs for our residents. Led by Great Point Studios CEO and President Robert Halmi, Lionsgate
expects 75% of their new hires to come from Yonkers. And they are on track to reach that number. When it’s all over, more than 2,000 jobs will be created.
While the City Council and I continue to work to improve the existing 10% Affordable Housing Ordinance, we promise that Yonkers will maintain its status as the state’s leader in building affordable housing and embrace the one of the most comprehensive prescriptions in the country. Nothing can
stop us! You will see an additional 500 new affordable housing units for our working families. In addition to the 1,000 units we have already built since 2013.”
“There are approximately 10,000 Ukrainian Americans in Westchester, of which approximately 25% are
immigrants – many of whom call Yonkers their home. The war in Ukraine is unimaginable and the devastation beyond comprehension. The pictures say it all. This is personal to us.
Make no mistake: Yonkers Stands with Ukraine. Ukrainians, along with so many other ethnic groups, are the real fabric of who we are in Yonkers.
A new film and media-focused school for 500 middle and high school students to be built in conjunction with Great Point Studios in the Ludlow area.
10 new police officers at the YPD
Another Hollywood Movie Announcement On The Hudson Coming This Year
“Ladies and gentlemen, there is no stopping Yonkers in our quest for greatness. Our journey is not yet over in Yonkers. We have already achieved so much together, but I know that the full potential of our city is yet to be discovered. We will continue working together to ensure Yonkers’ best days are ahead of us.
Some thought it was Mayor Spano’s best speech to date. It encompassed the past ten years at Yonkers under his leadership, but also pointed to the future. An elected official in attendance said: ‘It was a clean and crisp delivery from the mayor, who never strayed from the script and seemed very comfortable reviewing his accomplishments. It was a speech that said, we made it through COVID Yonkers. The last 10 years have been good, but watch out for our future.
Another Yonkers Democrat said, “I think that speech also told us he could have a fourth term if he wanted to. He is part of the family of many Yonkers. I know he doesn’t want it, but I hope he reconsiders. He did such a good job, we don’t want him to leave.