Grand Rapids Mayor Roslynn Bliss gave her State of the City address yesterday, as the Mayor outlined progress made in her first year on the job as well as the challenges Grand Rapids must face moving forward.
“To each of you in attendance and watching at home, your love for our city is key to our future. Working together, we will build on the chapters before us to make Grand Rapids a more vibrant, effective and inclusive city,” Bliss said.
Mayor Bliss spoke to around 500 people who were on-hand at new music venue 20 Monroe Live to hear her 2nd annual State of the City address. Bliss began by reviewing her first year as Mayor and the successes Grand Rapids has seen under her leadership.
“We continued to lay the foundation for long-term improvements that positively affect all people who call Grand Rapids home," Bliss said.
While Bliss seemed proud as she laid out the achievements the City had in made in 2016, the Mayor took a more somber tone when addressing the Affordable Housing Crisis.
“We know we are still struggling with issues related to affordable housing, and we know we all need to work together to solve this problem,” she said.
Mayor Bliss said the City Commission is facing that head on with the creation of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund coupled with Housing Advisory Committee that will present its recommendations to City Hall in May.
The Mayor also spoke to the racial inequity that she says continues to divide the city.
“We are one city, one community, and we rise and fall together. Without racial equity, we cannot be prosperous,” Bliss said.
In response, Mayor Bliss announced that the city will create a new Grand Rapids Racial Equity Initiative that will work to increase equitable employment and reduce racial disparities. The mayor concluded by saying that the city is built on small giants who work to make the community a better place.
“I ask that you join me in making Grand Rapids THE small giant in our country,” she said.
The mayor received a long standing ovation at the conclusion of her speech.