Revitalizing Downtowns Across America
Posted June 24, 2003
It is widely agreed that the partnership between the city of Tacoma, the state of Washington, and the GSA—to transform Tacoma Union Station into a United States Courthouse—was the impetus for the neighborhood’s revival. GSA is producing similar results across the nation with its Good Neighbor Program.
The story in Tacoma, Washington started when citizen activists challenged their elected officials to find an alternative to tearing down the historic Tacoma Union Station. The result was that the leaky, abandoned train station was transformed into a new home for the United States District Court. Over the past decade, the Union Station project has led to a remarkable revival of the entire area.
This success story is one example of how a unique partnership and a simple idea became a catalyst for significant social change. It exemplifies how GSA works to be a “good neighbor” in communities around the country through its Urban Development/Good Neighbor Program.
Everyday, GSA works with developers, local and state governments, and private organizations to bring new life to urban areas. Some examples:
· On the east coast, Roxbury, Massachusetts, has seen the rebirth of its neighborhood. GSA worked with the city of Boston and the local community to restore an historic site that now houses both a federal agency and private firms.
· In Kansas City, Missouri, GSA is working with United States Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), the United States Postal Service, and downtown business leaders to strengthen the central business district. Together they are redeveloping the former United States Courthouse at 811 Grand into a “Metropolitan Enterprise Center.” This will further revitalize the Grand Boulevard corridor and re-establish the downtown as a regional hub.
· Just across the river, in Kansas City, Kansas, the grand opening of the Environmental Protection Agency Science and Technology Center is the latest addition to an energized downtown community. Over a half dozen federal projects have helped rekindle this area’s spirit.
· With a location alongside the Passaic River in Newark, New Jersey, the new Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New Jersey headquarters will be a stimulus for Newark’s waterfront development.
· To support Omaha, Nebraska’s riverfront district and the whole Missouri Riverfront Redevelopment plan, GSA, working with a local developer and the city of Omaha, will construct the midwest regional headquarters for the National Park Service.
Everyone benefits when communities are revitalized. Business owners have enhanced opportunities. Employees get a better place to work. The tax base improves for local and state governments. Being a good neighbor, GSA actively engages in partnering with others to bring about the best results for federal workers and for the American taxpayer.