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State of the Queen City of the Great Lakes

Last week, Mayor Byron Brown gave his annual State of the City address. A general overview of everything that is happening in our city, the speech highlighted the positive steps the Mayor’s administration and our city have taken over the past year. Much hard work and dedication has begun to help in areas like economic development and job creation. But, while focusing mainly on economic issues, the speech did not address many of the environmental concerns of our city.
The Mayor did address the remediation and reinvestment efforts at brownfields like the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park and the former Republic Steel site. These sites are now, or will soon, be shovel ready for reinvestment. He also discussed the creation of a year round public waterfront access park at the Erie Basin Marina. Any increase in public access to water is great. Both of these examples are truly important to the ecological and economic sustainability of our city. However, thinking on a deeper, big picture level, may be necessary if our city plans to dedicate itself to becoming a leader within the Great Lakes region and among sustainable cities across the country. Topics like combined sewer overflows may not fit into the best media clip, but it an issue central our waterfront revitalization.
This week’s Great Lakes United posts will deal with a group called the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. Founded by Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, this cooperative group of local elected officials is working diligently to put municipalities on the level they deserve in regards to environmental protection and policy. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative feels that cities should be at the same table as state, provincial and federal agencies because many of the changes necessary to move our communities in a more eco-friendly direction have to happen at the local level.
Currently, Buffalo is not an active member of this group. But, while we speak, collaboration and exchange is occurring between regional leaders like Chicago and Toronto and our neighbors in Niagara Falls, ON, Rochester, and Erie, PA.
Be sure to look for Great Lakes United’s posts on what Buffalo can do to join the sustainable leaders of the Great Lakes Region.
Blogging for Great Lakes United is Nate Drag

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