Touts Brownfields as Key Part of "New Agenda for American
By Kevin McCarty
Mayor Ronald Kirk delivered the message on behalf of the nation's mayors
December 6 that brownfields redevelopment is a critical part of a
"New Agenda for American Cities." His remarks were made at the
opening session of the "Brownfields '99" Conference in Dallas.
a member of the Conference's Advisory Board who also chairs the Urban
Economic Committee, made his remarks before the more than 2,000 conference
participants during the opening session of the three-day conference.
Joining with Mayor Kirk at this session were U.S. EPA Administrator Carol
Browner and U.S. HUD Deputy Secretary Saul Ramirez.
on behalf of Conference President and Denver Mayor Wellington E.
Webb," Kirk said, "There are cities like Dallas, all over this
nation, that are challenged to take advantage of every resource we have
available. We don't have the luxury to write off huge chunks of real
estate, and let business go to greener pastures and take up valuable
farmland," Kirk said.
explained the ten elements of the "New Agenda for American
Cities" that was set forth by Conference President Webb in a speech
last month before the National Press Club in Washington, DC. "First
of all, we ought to make government more responsive to local priorities
and metro economies;If more than 80 percent of our nation's gross domestic
product is being produced in the top 300 plus metropolitan areas around
this country, perhaps we need to make sure we work more closely with our
nation's mayors," Kirk said.
we want to make sure we continue to make our cities safe. I can clean up
everything in the world, we can go through and save all the brownfields
and do that, but if ; the cities and in particular, core inner-cities are
not as safe as other communities, then we still lose that in that
important battle for jobs and families," he said.
focused on public education, the third element of this new agenda.
"There is probably nothing that challenges the future of our country
anymore than the issue of what to do about urban education;Probably the
single, greatest factor driving a family's decision as to where to live is
'where am I going to put my kids in school?';If we are going to save
America's urban schools and the majority of our workforce, we're going to
have to restore our land, and bring those families and bring those jobs
back into our communities. We want to work with our leaders in Washington
to make sure that we do that," Kirk said.
summarized the remaining parts of the agenda, discussing America's
affordable housing crisis, the need to promote arts, culture and sporting
amenities, tax cuts for challenged neighborhoods and working families,
smart growth, a competitive work force, modernize our infrastructure, and
better access to affordable health care.
was among several mayors who participated in the Dallas "Brownfields
'99" Conference, the fourth such national gathering that was first
convened by U.S. EPA. The Conference of Mayors joined with other
organizations to sponsor this conference for local, state and federal
environmental and economic development leaders. Following this article are
summaries of the presentations by the other mayors taking part in "Brownfields