A post-COVID Riverside will be shaped by—not defined by —the pandemic. Riverside after COVID-19 will utilize the strong footings that have powered a century of successes: inviting parks, four colleges and universities, a historic downtown, and welcoming neighborhoods.
For now, COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts will remain at the forefront. Along with directly advocating to the State, Mayor Lock Dawson will continue to advocate for Riverside as a member of the state’s Big City Mayors Coalition to ensure our city receives its fair share of vaccines, funding, and other state support.
Riverside is on the cusp of launching a new jobs sector. With Riverside being home to the California Air Resources Board Southern California Headquarters, the city will be an international center for green and clean tech. This new sector will bring in high-quality jobs for Riverside’s local, qualified workforce. Working with partners at the Chambers of Commerce, universities, museums, and nonprofits, identifying Riverside’s competitive advantages will further opportunities for investment in the city’s Innovation District—marketing the effort nationally and internationally.
There are many aspects that can improve quality of life for Riversiders. Mayor Lock Dawson continues her decades-long work to “Put the River Back in Riverside” by making the Santa Ana River a destination for recreation. Working with a regional coalition, Riverside will reduce fire danger and address homelessness in the river bottom with access to mental health services, emergency shelter programs and job training. This regional effort will ensure all parties coordinate to address homelessness. Riversiders are also in need of high-quality entertainment and restaurants, and as the City of Arts and Innovation, more opportunities to access public art.
Creating stronger bonds between the City of Riverside and local higher education institutions will encourage graduate retention following the completion of education. Mayor Lock Dawson will work to retain local graduates in Riverside and ensure opportunities exist in the career fields of the 21st century. Connecting local colleges and employers to provide in-demand technical training, certification, and professional development programs will also be of great importance to create methods of retaining local talent as diverse as the workers themselves.
Riverside’s fiscal standing has impacts on all aspects of operations within the city. Community involvement in the priority-based budgeting process will direct funding to programs and departments deemed most critical by Riverside’s residents. Mayor Lock Dawson will continue to explore solutions such as refinancing existing city debt, creating a budget stabilization effort that involves business and labor leaders, and fostering new, innovative ways of generating new revenue. Riverside will be positioned for fiscal success with the attraction of investment, which will spur business growth.
Riverside’s greatest strength is its caring, committed and connected community. When making important decisions, Mayor Lock Dawson will seek the advice of, and include, all Riversiders. The shared identity as Riversiders has profound implications on the success and achievements of the city. We will work with local groups to explore ways to improve connectivity including the establishment of a baseline to measure the efficacy of Riverside’s actions in ensuring a tomorrow that is better for all Riversiders.