January’s theme is officially about maintenance and operations; however, as articles poured in, a secondary theme became evident: rejuvenation. Quite fitting for the new year, right?
Cities require constant rejuvenation to avoid stagnation, whether that is adapting to modern needs and tastes, improving in some operational capacity or completing projects like streetscapes, wastewater plant expansions or the addition of a new trail system. You’ll see many cities in this issue that have met the challenge.
A group of mayors along the Mississippi River have come together through the Mississippi River Cities and Town Initiative to both improve the river and better mitigate the increasing number of weather events. With $500 billion in annual revenue on the line, these mayors know all too well the importance of the river and the infrastructure along it. Writer Denise Fedorow shares the MRCTI’s mission and the benefits member mayors are finding through the organization, especially as their combined voices are heard at all levels.
Rivers can be invaluable to the cities nestled along their banks. Farther away in Michigan, the city of Monroe has tapped into a previously ignored resource, the River Raisin. This has included remediation after a heavily industrialized past and the building of outdoor spaces along the river bringing people back to it in a way that’d previously been underutilized. Writer Janet Patterson highlights Monroe’s evolution and return to the river.
GIS can also spark transformations, particularly in how operations and maintenance are handled — improving efficiency in-house while also increasing residents’ overall satisfaction rates. Writer Ray Balogh shares the numerous ways cities can implement GIS to its fullest while also spotlighting Beaverton, Ore.’s, and Waterloo, Iowa’s, GIS programs — both of which have saved their respective cities copious amounts of time.
If your municipality has yet to invest in GIS or has only done so lightly, definitely check out that lead article. GIS can be a beneficial tool for a variety of situations, whether it is monitoring noise levels surrounding an airport or monitoring the health of underground pipes to meet state mandates.
Also in regard to rejuvenation, I received a tip out of Farmington, N.M., to check out what Broken Arrow, Okla., has done with its downtown Rose District. I was not disappointed: The city has breathed new life into its downtown area, keeping it alive well into the evening. As more cities are focusing on their downtown areas versus urban sprawl and its shopping centers, it’s worth checking out what Broken Arrow has accomplished.
We hope this issue provides plenty of inspiration for 2020 and encouragement to pursue projects that have been on the docket for a while. Keep your eyes peeled for potential funding opportunities; the stars just might align this year.
Happy New Year, everyone!