Coleman Talks Youth Initiatives, Potholes in State of City Address

Updated: 03/31/2014 1:34 PM
Created: 03/31/2014 11:57 AM
By: Megan Stewart

Potholes are popping up everywhere - even in St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's 2014 State of the City Address.

On Monday, the mayor gave the annual speech which outlines the year's goals for St. Paul. Coleman highlighted youth and transportation initiatives, most notably the light rail set to open in a few months, along with the promise of the new Lowertown Ball Park.

But he also talked about one unsightly and annoying problem in the city - potholes.
The harsh winter and extended thaw and freeze cycle has wrecked roads across the Twin Cities, and the mayor said it has even reopened potholes St. Paul workers already filled.

"In the short-term, I have directed Public Works to call back laid off street service workers and concentrate these resources on our immediate pothole issues," Coleman said. "In the coming months I will be working with public works, Council, and our Office of Financial Services to identify additional resources to reconstruct priority streets."

The mayor called for a comprehensive transportation bill from the state legislature and U.S. Congress to maintain infrastructure. He said it would cost the city more than $70 million to repair the city's 20 worst streets.

Transportation around the city, however, is at an advantage to residents because of the new public options connecting the State Capitol to Minneapolis and the west metro.

The two cities have partnered on a push to end veteran homelessness by rebuilding a new Dorothy Day Center. Read more about the center's ReVision project here.

Earlier in his address, the mayor announced the Arlington Hills Community Center, a $14 million project where the event was held, will open May 22. The mayor said it would be "ground zero" for the city to close the achievement gap for children in the city.

He also announced the continuation of "Right Track," which places high school students with at least one year of work experience with local companies. Last year's program had a 95 percent completion rate of internships among 21 teens who, as a group, brought in more than $50,000 in wages, Coleman said.

In addition to promoting career development for young adults, the mayor said youth crime rates are down in the city following a pilot program co-hosted by the YWCA that began three months ago.

"The results were phenomenal," Coleman said. "In those three months, youth arrests for serious crimes fell 43 percent. Youth arrests for less serious crimes fell 37 percent. Serious crime fell 21 percent overall."

Coleman has been in office since 2005. This is his ninth State of the City address.

Read the mayor's vision for St. Paul's future here.

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