At Mayors' Conference, A Familiar Focus On Regional Economies

Jun 24, 2016


At this weekend's U.S. Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis, leaders from cities big and small are brainstorming ways to collaborate on economic growth, rather than competing.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says that approach is already catching on in Indiana.

Outside a session with the mayors of Boston and New York, Buttigieg said his city of 100,000 is just big enough to have all the problems of a major metro area:

 

"But we're small enough that you can get your arms around it -- try new approaches, and be nimble about some of the solutions," he said.

 

For South Bend, he said that's meant partnering with Notre Dame University and joining one of Indiana's Regional Cities Initiatives in an effort to make North Central Indiana's economy sustainable.

 

"We've got to band together with places like Elkhart or Marshall County or LaPorte around us and act as an economic unit," Buttigieg said. "That's already how the business world sees us -- it's just that local officials don't always think that way because our imagination sometimes stops at the city limit."

 

That's as a report released by the mayors' conference puts the Elkhart-Goshen metro area in the top 10 nationally for job growth by percentage since 2009 -- with the Michigan City-LaPorte area in the bottom 10.

The conference runs through Monday, with appearances by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and the Dalai Lama planned this weekend.