Patton wants development to occur near an old airport on the East Side.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Sylvester Patton believes he can use his years as a state representative and the connections he's made in Columbus to his advantage to take the city to another level as its mayor.
Patton had a press conference Monday at the Youngstown Business Incubator on West Federal Street to announce he's running for the city's top job. He plans to file his petitions to run in the May 3 Democratic primary this week.
He said supporters encouraged him to run.
Patton said the city is headed in the right direction, and the time to run for mayor is now.
"We have a growing business district; a tight, but balanced budget; there is reduced crime; and new schools are being built," said Patton, who is serving his fifth term as a state lawmaker.
He said the 2010 plan unveiled last week also would be a catalyst for continued city growth for years.
Patton said the city, over the last six to eight years, has been receiving state and federal assistance to create a lot of the positive activities happening in the city, and he believes he played a part in obtaining some of that money.
"I'll be the chief lobbyist for the city" in Columbus and elsewhere, Patton said.
On his agenda
He outlined a few of the things he would like to accomplish as mayor:
UIncrease funding for community block watches.
UIncrease police presence in neighborhoods to make them more visible and proactive with the community.
UProvide more funding for the Office of Economic Development's Small Business Initiative program to entice more businesses to locate in the city.
UContinue enhancing the city's central business district.
USeek out business partners to develop the 400 acres near the former Lansdowne Airport on the city's East Side and expand Hubbard Road and Albert Street to provide a better link to the airport.
UCombine the city and Mahoning County's 911 emergency call centers and also seek ways to regionalize and combine other governmental entities.
USpeed up demolition of old housing stock and decaying buildings.
Patton said it appears the field for mayor will be crowded, but he believes several candidates will drop out before the filing deadline.
He also said he will have some polls done before the deadline, and if they show he won't have the support he thinks he now has, he would drop out. But he doesn't think that's going to happen.
"I am the prime candidate because of the leadership skills I possess, and I have the ability to help bring more state money to the city because of the ties and friendships I have forged during my years in the Statehouse," Patton said.
He added he doesn't just see himself strictly as a black candidate for mayor. "I represent all the people," he said.