Mayor Sylvester Turner at Jun 9, 2021 Houston City Council meeting.
Mayor Sylvester Turner at Jun 9, 2021 Houston City Council meeting. Photo by Lucio Vasquez/Houston Public Media.

Mayor Sylvester Turner is in his final year as Mayor of Houston, but before he leaves, he said he’s got some unfinished business. During city council on Wednesday, he gave an overview of what he plans to focus on in the year 2023.

From affordable housing to public safety, parks, and street infrastructure, Turner said he’s making it a priority to finish what he started.

“The focus for 2023 for this administration will be execution and implementation,” he said. “Very simple, execute and implement, that’s what 2023 is all about, that’s what I’m telling my team – it’s about getting things done in 2023.”

Kicking off the Mayor’s focus of “execution and implementation” the city is unveiling two new multi-service centers in Alief and Sunnyside this month. Those projects are part of Mayor Turner’s Complete Communities initiatives that aims to provide equitable opportunities in 10 underserved neighbors in Houston. Other projects coming into communities are free no cost childcare facilities and the Bethune Empowerment Center in Acres Homes.

The Mayor has stated on numerous occasions that public safety is the city’s top priority. Houston murders were down in 2022 compared to 2021 and Turner said he wants to continue to reduce violent crime in the city this year.

“So we’re into another year and the goal now is to beat “22, beat “21, and beat ‘20,” he said. “So it’s to drive the numbers down and so we will continue to place a great deal of emphasis on public safety, working with our community messengers, programs and other mental health crisis intervention, all of that.”

The Mayor’s $55 million One safe Houston Initiative was started last year to reduce violent crime across all crime platforms, provide resources for mental health, domestic violence, the Gun Buyback Initiative, overtime for HPD, and other areas relating to crime.

The Mayor also set some other goals to build 3,000 single family homes, 7,000 apartment complexes, and build on the city’s reputation as a leader in decreasing homelessness with the Homeless Navigation Center opening this quarter. He also wants improvements to streets and parks, and to address illegal dumping and make Houston a more resilient city.

Turner said while no city is perfect, Houston has made a lot of progress over the years.

“No administration is going to solve all the city’s problems. Impossible. But I do think already, we have done some substantial work,” he said.

Turner said his focus in 2023 will be completing projects currently in the works, with no major new initiatives planned.

2023 is a busy year for the city with numerous events, including the Chevron Houston Marathon and the MLK parade in January.

“There are a number of events, there’ll be major events that will be taking place throughout the year,” he said. “And the goal is to make these events even grander, bigger, better than they have been.”