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New York Cities Unite to Fight Sprawl.

Seventy-five community leaders from New York's public and private sectors convened recently in Syracuse to discuss successful strategies for promoting "smart growth" and addressing the complex economic, environmental, and social challenges facing the state's urban centers.

"This unprecedented gathering holds the promise of yielding a collaborative public-private effort to improve the sustainability of economic development throughout the state," said Syracuse Mayor Roy Bernardi.

The day-long meeting also featured a keynote address by Rochester Mayor William Johnson, who said, "We spread our homes, jobs, stores and restaurants across the landscape in a way that is very inefficient and very expensive."

"It's called sprawl, and it ferociously drives up the cost of government," Johnson added. "Sprawl leads to disinvestment as populations and private investment shift away from older areas. It means older communities have fewer resources, leading to deterioration of the infrastructure, cuts in services, and higher taxes, which prompts more people to move away. And the process of disinvestment repeats itself from city to inner suburbs to outer suburbs to rural areas."

At the meeting, participants discussed a nine-point package of "Smart Growth" proposals being advanced by the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials. The proposals call upon cities, suburbs, and rural areas to coordinate economic and physical growth in order to reduce taxes, increase jobs, and enhance to quality of life for all Empire State residents.

The proposals are built around the following principles: 1) statewide municipal property tax relief is essential to urban revitalization; 2) state economic development funding must provide incentives for a bottom-up planning process; 3) tourism presents an opportunity for the economy and the environment to come together to benefit all New Yorkers; and 4) the interdependence of urban, suburban, and rural areas must be acknowledged if each area is to prosper.

Details: Ed Farrell, 518-463-1185; fax, 518-463-1190.
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Title Annotation:urban sprawl increases government costs
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Nov 30, 1998
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