'Mount Vernon is open for business.' City pushes forward with vision to return to former glory
Despite a large financial hole, the city of Mount Vernon is pushing forward with a vision to bring itself back to its former glory.
Forty-year Mount Vernon resident Armindo Figueiredo says he likes to reflect on his time growing up in Mount Vernon in the 1980s.
"Everything is different," says Figueiredo.
He watched the construction at Memorial Field Wednesday. It is set to reopen this fall for the first time in more than a decade.
"I waited too long for this, and now I'm happy," he says.
Reopening the field is one of the promises Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard reaffirmed during her State of the City.
"We're taking on the gargantuan tasks. We're not kicking the can down the road," said Patterson-Howard.
A third of a billion dollars in capital funding is pouring into the city, including:
- $160 million to replace an aging and unworkable sewage system.
- $130 million for MTA projects and bridge reconstruction.
- $10 million to repave the city's crater-filled streets.
"We have to make our case, reestablish our credibility, work out the details, do proper planning, and follow through with diligence and persistence," says Patterson-Howard.
The city is finally getting its financial books together, revealing tens of millions of dollars' worth of outstanding debts from previous administrations. But that's no longer an excuse.
While there's a lot of work to be done, the city is already showing signs of improvement. The economy is up 13% over the last four years.
The mayor's message is simple: "Mount Vernon is open for business."