Ferdon outlines plans for coming year with State of the City

Mary Ferdon speaks at the 2024 State of the City address at Nexus Park.

Columbus Mayor Mary Ferdon is outlining her goals and initiatives in her first State of the City address held Wednesday evening at Nexus Park, the former Fair Oaks Mall.

She announced initiatives to improve public safety, reduce homelessness, address modern transit needs and improve Columbus Animal Care Services.

Ferdon announced that Mark Stewart, head of the United Way of Bartholomew County, would be leading a task force to tackle homelessness in the community.

“I’m pleased to announce that Mark Stewart, President of United Way, has agreed to lead a community -based initiative to move our community in the direction where homelessness is rare, brief, and non -reoccurring,” Ferdon said.

Ferdon said the current animal shelter, built in the 1980s, is not meeting the city’s needs.

This facility was not built to accommodate current demand and best practices and we cannot keep up with the building maintenance,” Ferdon said. “We’ve begun the process of reviewing how we can design and build a facility which serves current and future needs in a more cost -effective and efficient way. Animals are another vulnerable population which requires community care.”

Ferdon spelled out how a new department of Security and Risk would help protect public safety in city buildings and the start of a transit study this spring to determine modern needs.

“Our current fixed -route system, while functional, cannot easily meet the needs of our growing senior population and the change in how people work. It was designed for a different period of time,” Ferdon said. “Our goal is to look holistically at the type of system that will best serve the needs of residents, both now as well as into the future.”

Photo: Mary Ferdon speaks at the 2024 State of the City address at Nexus Park.