Autumn Swanson: Lima’s hopes begin in neighborhoods

Autumn Swanson - Guest Column

Autumn Swanson
City of Lima

Autumn Swanson City of Lima


See past coverage of the Lima mayoral race at

Here in Lima, we have business sites ready to occupy, solid infrastructure, great parks, engaged and active neighborhood associations, anchor corporations, and space ready for building and development. Unfortunately, we have neglected our neighborhood associations, made building or expanding a business in Lima difficult, forgotten that our parks are for our youth, and failed to address downtown in a comprehensive plan. We have separated our police from the people and watched as homes deteriorate before our eyes.

I am running for mayor to empower neighborhoods, make Lima a regional recreational destination, create year-round parks programming for our kids and make it easy to do business in Lima. We will do all of this in a way that unites political parties, every level of government, neighborhoods and police. An administration that unites is an administration that will show tangible success.

Empowering neighborhoods must start with elevating them by creating a department of neighborhood engagement. Our neighborhood associations are active but are not supported by our city. Neighborhoods will give direct feedback through weekly meetings with the mayor. Our focus will start with safety as we fully implement community-oriented policing. Together we will also identify and either remove or refurbish vacant or abandoned homes before they house criminal activity or become a danger.

Our parks are nice but have so much more potential. Park’s programming can bring sports, STEAM, and collaborative leadership programs to help our youth grow and excel. Working with local non-profits, we can also provide mentorship and other similar programming. As a parent I know this will truly make a difference for our kids.

Lima boasts decent infrastructure, a strategic location for distribution and an able work force but it’s not enough. We will establish an office of ombudsman who will help shepherd businesses through the needlessly complex permits. Budgets and salaries of departments will be tied to performance, quality, customer service and speed. Lima’s bureaucracy must move at the speed of business not the glacial pace of government.

Finally, we must create a downtown that attracts the region. We have started this process several times but have lacked the leadership to build a collective vision. We will work with our state and federal legislative delegations as we seek grants with the goal of construction beginning and continuing throughout the first four years of my administration. Only focused leadership will produce a downtown that the region will see as a destination.

I am proud of my community, proud of the campaign I have run and proud that our vision for Lima is about inclusion and leadership. As a black woman from a working-class family, I’ve achieved a master’s degree in public administration, worked in the non-profit sectors leading organizations and worked closely with Lima neighborhoods for the city. Our campaign has been funded locally with friends and my own retirement. We have volunteers of every age group, race and political persuasion who share this vision of change. We have shown that a team of rivals can work together for this vision for Lima. I ask for your vote to build an administration where all voices are heard and where we collaborate for Lima’s prosperity.

Autumn Swanson City of Lima Swanson City of Lima

Autumn Swanson

Guest Column


See past coverage of the Lima mayoral race at

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