Monthly Spotlight March 2018

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More than a dozen NewDEAL Leaders have recently delivered their State of the City addresses, laying out a vision for what is required to be a thriving city in the new economy, while reviewing and proposing innovative programs that are moving their communities forward.

In this month’s NewDEAL Leader Spotlight we examine key themes that have emerged across their speeches, including housing, infrastructure, education and community engagement. These leaders, from Mayor Kathy Sheehan of Albany, NY to Mayor Greg Stanton in Phoenix, AZ, are implementing creative and unique programs that not only solve complex problems, but also serve as successful models for communities across the nation.

State of the City

Expanding Housing Opportunities

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Kathy Sheehan
Mayor,
Albany, NY

Joe Curtatone
Mayor,
Somerville, MA

Nan Whaley
Mayor,
Dayton, OH


The Issue

Amid a wide range of housing concerns, including high prices and gentrification, governments face myriad challenges from stimulating construction in underdeveloped neighborhoods, to providing affordable homes for lower income families. Balancing a vibrant housing market and commercial development continues to be a leading issue across the country.

NewDEAL Solutions

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s Vacant Building Rehabilitation Program provides up to $50,000 per building to assist City of Albany homeowners and developers in the purchase and rehabilitation of vacant properties. The initiative targets vacant and abandoned buildings located in neighborhoods that are impacted by blight, stimulating the renovation of significant housing stock, and bringing distressed blocks throughout the City back to life – all while increasing surrounding property values, creating local construction jobs, and dramatically enhancing quality of life. At least 50 percent of the housing units that are created using these funds are affordable.

In Somerville, Massachusetts, Mayor Joe Curtatone outlined numerous innovative housing programs, like a Housing Land Trust, to create the opportunity for communities to buy property that would receive a distinction to be permanently affordable for lower income residents. Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley touted the success of a rebounding city housing market driven by quality of life improvements and inclusivity. Improvements include transformative flats and additional projects and construction approved by the city commission, including creative housing options, such as transforming the old Dayton Delco factory into apartments.


Improvements to Infrastructure


Svante Myrick
Mayor,
Ithaca, NY


Pete Buttigieg
Mayor,
South Bend, IN


Karen Freeman-Wilson
Mayor,
Gary, IN


Greg Stanton
Mayor,
Phoenix, AZ

The Issue

Commercial businesses and residents alike depend on modern infrastructure every day. From challenges around public transportation to repairing residential streets after major storms, NewDEAL Leaders are working to implement solutions for how best to connect communities.

NewDEAL Solutions

Mayor Svante Myrick is tackling street repairs in Ithaca, New York, setting a precedent by investing more capital into road repairs than any previous year in the city’s history and working to build on that in the new year. In South Bend, Mayor Pete Buttigieg cites a major downtown facelift through the success of the Smart Streets initiative. Credited with attracting more than $90 million in private investment, Smart Streets includes modernizing traffic patterns and improvements to sidewalks for pedestrians. Mayor Greg Stanton aims to further the progress of the Phoenix 2050 Transportation Plan. By adding more than 1,000 miles of bike paths and by tripling the current light rail system, Phoenix is a leading example of diverse, and climate-friendly, infrastructure development.

ln Gary, Indiana, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson emphasized the city's commitment to developing the historic downtown area that has attracted thousands of visitors, highlighting improvements to walkability and increased economic activity, such as new restaurants. The 504 Redevelopment project has brought life to an iconic historic structure in our downtown that has been renamed the Centier Bank building and is becoming home to numerous businesses.


Community Engagement and Good Governance


Steve Benjamin
Mayor,
Columbia, SC


Levar Stoney
Mayor,
Richmond, VA


Svante Myrick
Mayor,
Ithaca, NY


The Issue

Good governance requires the public sector to build strong relationships with organizations throughout a community and to effectively promote citizen engagement. NewDEAL Leaders are taking initiative in this area with innovative solutions.

NewDEAL Solutions

Mayor Steve Benjamin relaunched Columbia, South Carolina’s City Serve initiative through which volunteers, from students to senior-citizens, partner with organizations and private sector companies to support invaluable community programs, including food banks, book drives, and others focused on health, hunger, home improvement, beautification and education.

In Richmond, Virginia Mayor Levar Stoney proposed creating five Community Outreach Coordinators. Working in tandem with the Richmond Police Department, the Coordinators will focus their efforts in higher crime areas to facilitate access to social services and after-school programs. Mayor Svante Myrick is pushing to establish Design Guidelines for construction and building design in Ithaca, New York to encourage exceptional urban design and high quality construction.


Advancements in Education


Kim Driscoll
Mayor,
Salem, MA

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Jorge Elorza
Mayor,
Providence, RI


Levar Stoney
Mayor,
Richmond, VA


The Issue

Across the country, public schools are experiencing a plethora of challenges to providing a high quality education to all students, from inadequate facilities to limited after-school opportunities. Providing students with a multitude of educational opportunities is a crucial investment in the future.

NewDEAL Solutions

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll announced the creation of Our Salem, Our Kids, an initiative designed to address unmet needs among public school students, including through a mentorship program and greater student access to behavioral health services. Mayor Jorge Elorza aims to build on the success of Providence’s Summer Learning Task Force. Partnering with a variety of organizations, the city will offer two months of literacy classes and three months of math classes. Currently, close to 500 students participate in the free, high-quality summer learning program. In Richmond, Virginia Mayor Levar Stoney proposed a 1.5% city-meal tax to further fund the city’s education system. The tax is projected to create more than $9 million in its initial year to help with renovations that address overcrowding and deteriorating building conditions.

 

 


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