We arrived yesterday and the city looks fantastic.  I noticed almost immediately that there is no longer any scaffolding on City Hall, a pleasant and architecturally striking surprise.  Speaking of City Hall, GLUE received a warm welcome from Common Council President Willie Hines, who will be delivering the conference’s kickoff speech this evening.

From President Hines’s statement to the press:

“The Great Lakes Urban Exchange (GLUE), a national network of concerned citizens who are committed to revitalizing cities all along the Great Lakes – e.g. Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and others – will host its national conference in Milwaukee this year, starting tomorrow (Thursday, March 12) evening.

“Common Council President Willie L. Hines, Jr., who has long helped Milwaukee to be an urban pioneer in economic development, Great Lakes protection and sustainable planning, will deliver the conference’s opening address tomorrow evening at Sprecher Brewery.

“Abby Wilson and Sarah Szurpicki, the Pittsburgh and Detroit natives, respectively, who founded GLUE, noticed that their home cities faced many of the same challenges. They further realized that former “Rust Belt” cities surrounding the Great Lakes encountered similar problems, including population decline, the subsequent loss of tax base, racial segregation, inadequate public transportation and under-performing schools. The Brookings Institution, along with a number of foundations, has underwritten GLUE’s efforts to address these problems via its region-wide public policy network.

“’It’s a pleasure and an honor to have urban leaders from around the nation come to Milwaukee this weekend,’ said President Hines. ‘We feel fortunate to have Abby, Sarah and the entire GLUE team in town to discuss the common challenges and successes that post-industrial cities around the Great Lakes are experiencing. I anticipate a lot of lively discussion and some fresh ideas that will help move Milwaukee forward.’”

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In just a few hours, GLUE ’09 begins.   We’ll keep you posted!

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