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Safety, schools, tech on agenda in York State of the City Address

Written by Mark Walters | Apr 24, 2015 9:28 AM
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Photo by Emily Previti/witf

Delivering her fourth state of the city address Thursday night, York Mayor Kim Bracey was not short on word play or inspiration.

She spoke smoothly to a crowd of 200-plus -- mostly the elite and powerful of York -- inside LSC Design on North George Street, talking about the city's potential and her hope for a better York through partnerships and overcoming challenges.

Below are excerpts from her speech on the three topics to which she gave the most attention.

A safer city

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Photo: A York City police officer takes photos at the scene of a shooting at North Newberry Street and West Gay Avenue in this August 2014 file photo. WellSpan plans to buy body cameras for all York city police officers, Mayor Kim Bracey announced Thursday in her state of the city speech. Last year marked the second straight year serious crimes in York, including aggravated assault and murder, were below 2,000, Bracey said. From 2008 to 2014, such crimes saw a 30 percent decrease in the city. York County 911 confirmed one person was injured in the shooting. (Chris Dunn - Daily Record/Sunday News)

"Ladies and gentlemen, shared leadership between city government and our major institutions -- WellSpan and York College -- are crucial to our future."

WellSpan plans to buy body cameras for all York city police officers, Bracey announced. The York-based health care provider also pledged $500,000 annually for 2015 and 2016, she said, with $50,000 of that being put aside for community policing on South George Street.

Last year marked the second straight year serious crimes in York, including aggravated assault and murder, were below 2,000, Bracey said. 

From 2008 to 2014, such crimes saw a 30 percent decrease in the city.

Growing the York City Police Department's Neighborhood Enforcement Units has increased communication and built trust, Bracey said. And she encouraged citizens to use the technology in their hands to continue that.

Fresh start for schools

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Photo: Goode Elementary School 4th graders, Giovanni Vega, left, and Jeishmarie Rodriguez, participate in their reading class on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. (File - Daily Record/Sunday News)

"With mutual respect, empathy and intellectual honesty, we will find the best options and means to provide a cost-effective, quality, just education for all of our students."

Touting her appointment as co-chair to a community action committee, Bracey said she is excited to work with Carol Saylor to craft and implement an amended recovery plan for York City School District.

Bracey encouraged everyone to see the district's situation as a fresh start and to recognize, get mad at and mitigate the real menaces, which she said are injustice, unequal educational opportunities, parental dysfunction and poverty.

Beyond the city's societal ills, Bracey pointed to York partnerships that provide tutoring, recreation and dinner for kids after school, a four-year mentorship for high school students and an employment program for high school seniors to develop professional skills.

Bracey said she joined York City School District Supt. Eric Holmes in calling for a universal pre-kindergarten program for all 4 year olds. 

"Starting with 13 classrooms next school year, we will not stop until our goal of 22 classrooms is met," she said.

Redevelopment reaching 'critical mass'

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Photo: One-man band Nick DiSanto performs outside of Redeux, the vintage marketplace on South Duke Street, during a First Friday in this August file photo. In her state of the city speech, Bracey talked about York's industrial past and synergistic future. (File -- Daily Record/Sunday News)

"If the stars align and if the grant gods shower United Fiber & Data and Royal Square with goodness, I guarantee you, we will see and we will be critical mass."

Standing in a re-purposed building that was once vacant and blighted, Bracey talked about York's industrial past and its synergistic future.

She talked about lofty high-tech projects introduced by Think Loud Development and United Fiber & Data, what she said is becoming the nexus of a cutting-edge data company and a recording studio.

Pending a state grant, the data center will add 150 jobs, Bracey said, and it will grow a campus anchoring the city's northeast neighborhood.

Closer to Continental Square, Bracey talked about the hopes of the Royal Square development, which is already sprouting up art galleries and vintage stores.

While critical mass doesn't have a definition, we know it when we see it and when we walk through it, Bracey said. "Yes, great hopes and dreams take time to achieve, but they are worth our relentless effort," she said.

Read the speech

Want to read the whole speech? Click here to read the speech.

Live coverage recap

See coverage from reporter Mark Walters below. Click here for the recap.

Also of interest

Learn about city neighborhoods in Fixing York project.

Join Fixing York PA Facebook group to discuss the city.

Mayor Bracey: York needs more financial assistance from the county (column)

Mayor Kim Bracey to deliver State of the City Address in April.


This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF. 

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