A new Federal program geared at boosting the economic strength of urban communities launched Monday, with Cleveland as one of six pilot communities. ideastream's Rick Jackson says local leadership is pleased to have been chosen.
Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims says the program; dubbed "Strong Cities, Strong Communities", will insert a team of urban development experts from various departments to help speed communication with federal agencies.
"This isn't going to be some amorphous group. There will be names that the mayor will have, the business community will have... we're going to be holding individuals accountable."
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says adding 'regional' input makes the initiative distinct, and makes more sense than having Washington dictate one-size-fits-all agendas that sometimes failed. He says the feds did their homework, spending time talking to the city, business leaders, and foundations.
"So they have a pretty good sense of what Cleveland is about and the direction we want to go in."
Specific plans are still to come, but the city seemingly reaps rewards, while risking little. That drew praise from 11th District Congresswoman Marcia Fudge.
"We're using the resources of our citizens in a way that should be, and starting to find a way to create jobs."
Other pilot cities include New Orleans, Detroit, and Memphis; Fresno, California, and Chester, Pennsylvania.