Mayor Reynolds delivers his first ‘State of the City’ address through the lens of 5 of Bethlehem’s women leaders

Written by on April 7, 2022

Mayor Reynolds delivers his first ‘State of the City’ address through the lens of 5 of Bethlehem’s women leaders

By Megan Frank
April 7, 2022

Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds is joined by (l to r) Angela DelGrosso, Janine Carambot Santoro, Laura Collins, Maraleen Shields and Michelle Kott for his first ‘State of the City’ address on April 7, 2022. (Photo | WLVR)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Bethlehem residents will soon have a chance to weigh in on how $34 million in federal COVID-19 relief money will be spent.  

Mayor J. William Reynolds made the announcement during his first State of the City address on Thursday to a crowded room at ArtsQuest.  He said the city will soon roll out a pandemic recovery platform called “We Build Bethlehem” on the city’s website.

Listen to the story.

“People are able to go there and vote and share their opinion about what we need to invest in.  We’ll also do different community events to gather information about what people’s priorities are so that we can make those decisions going forward,” said Reynolds. 

Reynolds’ priorities are investing in the community, he said, especially small businesses, creating affordable housing solutions and expanding internet access for everyone.

Reynolds also took the opportunity to acknowledge five women who work for the city.  They all spoke during the address, which typically features only the mayor.  

The speakers included Angela DelGrosso, director of mayor’s initiatives; Janine Carambot Santoro, director of equity and inclusion; Laura Collins, director of community and economic development, Maraleen Shields, assistant city solicitor, and Police Chief Michelle Kott.

Shields said it made sense to her to break with tradition and have a team of people present the address. 

“To have a group of us sitting on stage,  it was a team atmosphere, and it was very natural,” said Shields. 

The group discussed new city initiatives, including creating a permanent homeless shelter.

Janine Carambot Santoro, the city’s director of Equity and Inclusion, talked about a new video series that will tell the stories of Bethlehem residents. 

“This is a people’s history, a living history.  It’s their history that we want to elevate and give people access to,” Carambot Santoro said. 

Many initiatives from Reynolds’ administration were presented during the event, including plans to improve public and green spaces, promoting new construction projects, addressing climate change, and fixing neighborhood pavements and sidewalks. 

Sign up for our WLVR weekly newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news from the Lehigh Valley and across Pennsylvania.


Current track