Flint, Michigan – November 19, 2014 – Today, two of the honorary chairs of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Delaware Governor Jack Markell, announced the finalists of the group’s New Ideas Challenge. Mayor Dayne Walling was chosen from a competitive field as a finalist for his policy solution, Chevy Commons, a green remediation plan for the Chevy in the Hole brownfield along the Flint River. The plan outlines converting the former industrial site into an open community space with grassland, wetland, woodland and other natural environmental features that will attract residents and visitors for recreational activities while simultaneously cleaning the soil over time. The City partnered with the Genesee County Land Bank who provided needed assistance on the Chevy Commons project.
Mayor Walling is a member of the NewDEAL — a national network of pro-growth progressive state and local elected officials working to expand opportunity in the changing economy. The first ever New Ideas Challenge gives recognition to smart, pro-growth progressive solutions that are being developed and tested by state and local leaders across the country. At a time of national gridlock, this network of leaders is offering applied solutions from the front lines of government.
“As a Governor and former Mayor, I know that the best ideas about moving our country forward often come from innovators on the front lines of state and local governments. I’m thrilled by the NewDEAL New Ideas Challenge and know it will stimulate the kind of fresh thinking we need. I’m impressed by these finalists, and am excited to see their ideas put into action,” said Governor O’Malley, Honorary NewDEAL Co-Chair.
Mayor Walling was chosen as one of sixteen finalists out of a total of sixty applicants by an esteemed panel of judges who are thought leaders in the policy arena. A winner in each of four categories – growing the economy for the future, expanding opportunity for all, making government work better, and best public private partnership – will be announced on December 3rd in Washington, DC.
“It is an honor for our work in Flint at the new Chevy Commons site to be recognized by a forward-looking national network,” said Mayor Walling. I want to give credit to our team and partners, who are all working hard to transform Flint and this project is a great example of our creative and inclusive approach.”
“The Genesee County Land Bank has worked with Mayor Walling and his team on the Chevy Commons project for several years,” said Doug Weiland, Executive Director of the Genesee County Land Bank. “We are proud of the fact that after many years there is now a plan in place to return this Brownfield property to productive use as green space and trail-ways for the enjoyment of the community. Its strategic location between Kettering University and downtown Flint makes this project even more important.”
“Every day the pro-growth progressive leaders who are a part of the NewDEAL network are championing ideas to modernize government for the 21st century. Mayor Walling and the other finalists of the NewDEAL New Ideas Challenge have impressed us with innovative solutions to grow the economy and expand opportunity for all. I congratulate these results-oriented state and local leaders not only for the ideas they’re working on locally but also for the ripple effect they’ll create in communities across the country,” said Governor Jack Markell, Honorary Co-Chair of the New Ideas Challenge.