East Village Magazine: Walling Finalist in NewDEAL New Ideas Challenge

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By Jason Lorenz

Two of the honorary chairmen of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, announced the finalists of the group’s New Ideas Challenge Nov. 19.

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.

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 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 O’Malley.

Walling was chosen as one of 16 finalists out of 60 applicants by a 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 and private partnership — will be announced Dec. 3 in Washington, D.C.

“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 Walling. I want to give credit to our team and partners, who are all working hard to transform Flint. This project is a great example of our creative and inclusive approach.”

“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. 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 congratuate 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 Markell.

“The Genesee County Land Bank has worked with Mayor Walling and his team on the Chevy Commons project for several years,” said Doug Weiland, Genesee County Land Bank executive director. “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 trailways for the enjoyment of the community. Its strategic location between Kettering University and downtown Flint makes this project even more important.”

Visit for more information about the NewDEAL.

Follow Walling on Twitter @MayorWalling using #NewDEALIdeas.

Source: East Village Magazine