The First & Main coalition of local elected leaders sent a letter this week to Congress and the Trump administration urging them not to cut or eliminate programs upon which these local communities rely.
Yesterday a group of more than 30 elected local leaders from across the country carried a clear and unified message up to Capitol Hill on behalf of the First & Main coalition of nearly 100 local elected officials from small and mid-sized towns and cities. Their message? “We need reliable federal partners to support our homegrown efforts to rebuild our downtowns, restore our economies, and improve opportunity for everyone.”
Cable car tracks in San Francisco, CA. Image by Prayitno, via Flickr.
Last week in Oakland, CA, Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council hosted a special track for local elected and appointed officials during the Leadership Academy for Sustainable Communities. Organized by the Institute for Sustainable Communities and sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the three-day workshop emphasized implementation strategies for recently completed regional sustainability plans. One dozen communities sent teams to the event, including local leaders seeking to help their communities achieve the visions outlined in their sustainability plans.
The Local Leaders Council–hosted track focused on developing an effective policy agenda that supports regional vision, building coalitions and partnerships to help move that vision forward, and talking publically about sustainability and infrastructure issues in ways that highlight local priorities. One of the primary takeaways was the need for a big-tent approach.
“Establishing a relationship with everybody, no matter what side of the aisle they’re on, is an important step in the process,” said Commissioner Yousef Rabhi of Washtenaw County, MI. Leaders in the room agreed that working toward a joint regional vision requires going beyond partisan thinking and keeping focused on positive, relatable economic and quality-of-life goals.
Councilmember Jan Marcason talks about turning around Kansas City, Missouri’s downtown after a period of serious decline. “We completely transformed our downtown to become a place where people are interested in working and staying after work to go to some of our entertainment centers…We know that without a vibrant downtown, the rest of the metropolitan … Continued
Councilmember Dave Richins discusses the ins and outs of form based code – – making development decisions based on how a building aesthetically interacts with the street and the other buildings in the area instead of based on what the use of the building will be – – and how Mesa, Arizona used form based … Continued
Missoula, Montana passed an affordable housing ordinance to build a community where residents of all income levels can live, work, and play together. Mayor John Engen talks about the importance of building affordable housing for any community. See more video interviews with Local Leaders here >>
The City of Greer had a vision for turning around their downtown. Mayor Rick Danner talks about they went about implementing that vision through a Master Plan created with the help of a public-private partnership and turned their downtown from a couple of restaurants into a vibrant center that includes a new city hall, a … Continued
Vice-Mayor Anu Natarajan believes her city of Fremont, CA, can be an economic leader in the region and the country. Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council sat down with Vice-Mayor Natarajan to learn more about her ideas for building on the city’s existing diversity to make Fremont more vibrant and economically competitive.
Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently interviewed Madeline Rogero, mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, to ask her how local governments can catalyze brownfields redevelopment and jumpstart revitalization. In the video above, Rogero discusses how strategic investments by local government have made brownfield sites in Knoxville more attractive to potential developers.
The topography of Carlisle, Iowa presents a unique challenge for dealing with stormwater management. Mayor Ruth Randleman talks about dealing with these issues in a cost effective way and creating a plan to mitigate future problems. See more video interviews with Local Leaders here >>