Akron is at a critical crossroads, said Mayor Daniel Horrigan, who on Jan. 1 was sworn in at Greystone Hall in downtown Akron as the city’s 62nd person to take this esteemed office.
“Are we comfortable to simply manage a population decline and its impact, or are we prepared to make that commitment today, you and I, that we believe that Akron is poised to innovate and grow?” Horrigan asked.
Our city is on the verge of a renaissance, he said. “It’s a time when we can create stronger and more stable neighborhoods and vibrant places and spaces, in an economy that is sufficiently inclusive and one that lifts everyone up.”
Part of this growth means seeking unprecedented partnerships with neighboring communities, strengthening Akron’s urban core and making Akron more of a destination for young people, Horrigan added. “Cities around the country also are taking extraordinary steps to create inclusion, and there’s no reason Akron can’t do the same thing.
“This requires us to be free from fear and allow ourselves to attempt bold and creative strategies when it comes to housing, neighborhood development, neighborhood connectivity, economic development, downtown and more.”
At the ceremony, Horrigan also thanked City Council, among others, like family members, voters and business and civic leaders, who helped him on his journey. “I look forward to building a new future with you.”
“It is the first time in a generation that the people of Akron inaugurate a newly elected mayor,” said James Hardy, Horrigan’s newly appointed chief of staff who served as master of ceremonies for the event.
Horrigan’s daughter Cassidy shared some touching words with the standing-room crowd in attendance. “It’s truly an indescribable feeling to watch the man who has always pushed you to accomplish your goals to accomplish his.”
She reminded attendees not to forget the person behind the position of mayor. She said over the past year, he still had to mow the lawn and take her on college visits while campaigning for the office. “There’s so much more to him than what you read in the newspaper or hear on the radio. I hope all of you get the chance to see who he is behind his job and share with me the person I am so proud to call my father,” she added. “I can assure you there is no one more committed to making Akron a better place to live for all of us that are so proud to call it home.”
Jeff Fusco, former mayor, joked that this is one New Year’s Day he had been looking forward to for a long time. Fusco, former City Council president, stepped in as mayor when Gary Moneypenny resigned last summer only about a week after taking office. “I’m certain that every day you work next to our city employees your appreciation for them and what they do will grow,” Fusco said to Horrigan, before giving him the key to his office.
“As a boy growing up in North Hill, Danny shared a number of traits typical with a North Hill kid: high level of energy and very competitive. But it was those two combined with his quiet determination that I believe set him apart,” said Horrigan’s friend Pat D’Andrea, who also spoke at the ceremony.
“Danny leads by serving,” D’Andrea added. “Like most good leaders, he has a keen instinct in assessing the situation, issues and people.”