News and highlights from Mayor Ginther's State of the City
Mayor Andrew Ginther spoke of his old stomping grounds at Whetstone High School and reflected on his two terms leading a rapidly changing metropolis in yesterday's State of the City address.
Why it matters: Ginther's speech, infused with biographical undertones, comes amid his first contested mayoral race since his inaugural run in 2015.
- He faces independent challenger Joe Motil this November.
Our biggest takeaways from the 55-minute speech:
More gun restrictions on deck
Columbus will seek to pass universal background checks for gun purchases and a "red flag" law, which would allow the city to temporarily seize guns from a person considered a danger to themselves or others.
State of play: The city and state have recently battled in court over the right to enact local gun restrictions.
- Ohio unsuccessfully tried to halt enforcement of a 2022 city ordinance prohibiting ownership of large capacity magazines, leaving Columbus emboldened to seek further ways to solve its gun violence crisis on its own.
2024 ballot initiative for better transit
The city will pursue a 2024 ballot initiative to fund expanded transit services.
- Ginther didn't provide specifics, but said Columbus is committed to improving access to "vital services" through affordable and reliable transportation options.
Flashback: A proposed sales tax increase to pay for bus service expansion was suggested for the 2022 ballot, but ultimately abandoned.
A growing police force
Columbus is on pace to employ a record number of police officers in 2024, Ginther boasted while citing the current rate of new hires.
- The Division of Police has invested in additional recruitment classes to make up for a wave of retirements and officer buyouts.
What he's saying: "I believe strongly that we can support our officers and support policing reforms at the same time," Ginther said, pointing to new body camera equipment and the hiring of a police inspector general.
What we're watching: The work of Columbus' new Office of Violence Prevention, touted by Ginther as "the first of its kind in the state."
The mayor promised a "dramatic" pickleball expansion, with 30 dedicated courts to be built across the city over the next five years.
- Columbus is already planning a new tournament facility at Mock Park on the Northeast Side.
The big picture: The tennis-like hybrid exploded in popularity as the fastest-growing sport in America last year, Axios' Hope King writes.
More Columbus stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Columbus.