Francisco Celebrates 25 Years of CDBG
By Eugene T. Lowe
More than 700 people, including more than thirty mayors and county executives, attended the first national celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in San Francisco on May 26 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts.
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown presided over the 3 hour plenary session that included speeches, awards, and videos, all of which demonstrated the depth and breadth of a program that continues to be one of the most important federal tools for urban communities. HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo delivered a major address during the plenary event.
On May 25, Mayor Willie Brown hosted a reception at city hall.
The event was sponsored by the City of San Francisco, The United States Conference of Mayors, the Large Urban County Caucus of the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National Community Development Association (NCDA) and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Opening remarks were given by Mayor of Salt Lake City and President of the Conference of Mayors Deedee Corradini, County Commissioner of Hennepin County, Minnesota and Chair of the Large Urban County Caucus Peter McLaughlin, Assistant City Manager for Community Services of Columbia, South Carolina and President of the National Community Development Association Leona Plaugh, and HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Cardell Cooper.
Rockford Mayor Charles Box then presented six National Community Development Innovation Awards. The awards were presented to North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays for a "Homeownership Program"; San Bernardino County Supervisor Jerry Eaves for a "Gang Intervention Program"; Fulton County Commissioner Michael Hightower for "The Families First Program"; Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin for a "Building With Care" program; Irvington Mayor Sara B. Bost for "The Chris Gatling Recreation Center"; and, Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini for "Our House Child Care and Education Center/Homeless Childrens Foundation".
Following the national awards presentation and showing of a video that more fully described each, Mayor Brown and his Director of Community Development Pamela H. David presented local awards winners of San Francisco. Awards were presented in six categories: The 25th Anniversary Community Institution Award; The "Making Change" Award;; The Innovations in Community Development Award; The Organizational Transformation Award; Then Partners in Community Development Award; and the Rich Sorro Award. A video was also shown of the local awards.
Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini and Hennepin Commissioner Peter Mc Laughlin next presented eight National Community Development Leadership Awards. The awards were presented in recognition of outstanding vision and commitment to the continued growth of Americas most successful community development program. The award winners were: Rockford Mayor Charles Box; San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.; Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci; Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke; Executive Secretary of the National Community Development Association John Sasso; President of the National Community Development Association Leona Plaugh; Associate Legialative Director for the National Association of Counties Haron Battle; and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo.
In his closing remarks, Mayor Willie Brown said: "CDBG has been an invaluable resource for San Francisco and other cities. But ask the average citizen what CDBG is _ and they wont know. CDBG has been a hidden asset, yet its results are evident throughout our neighborhoods. This week and the next you will see banners as you move about the city _ bright yellow and red banners that celebrate the 25th Anniversary of this great program. These banners are on poles in front of hundreds of projects with CDBG has contributed over the years. Some are community centers, some are childcare programs, some are businesses to which weve made loans, some senior centers, and some are affordable housing projects. These programs and banners represent the diversity of our community, and therefore the diversity of our community development needs. The flexibility of this federal program has been its strength _ because it has allowed us to tailor the use of these funds to meet the specific needs and concerns of San Francisco. I congratulate all of you... I look forward to the next 25 years."