Tom Murphy at HES 2014

Posted on Jul 4, 2014 In Audio Hamilton Economic Summit Latest Updates

Renewal is on the rise in Hamilton. Now is the time to be clear and consistent about our city’s vision of tomorrow. And that vision needs to disrupt the status quo and produce dramatic, systemic change.  Otherwise, Hamilton risks defeat in the battle among municipalities to attract and retain talent and investment.

That’s the central message Tom Murphy brought to town when he spoke at the Chamber’s 7th Hamilton Economic Summit held last month. Murphy is a former Mayor of Pittsburgh, a community that has renounced its rustbelt ways to become America’s most livable city.

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“It happened because we made very difficult decisions,” said Murphy while reflecting on his administration’s actions between 1994 and 2005. “We realized we could either be loved or effective. You can’t be both when you’re making difficult decisions.”

So what are some of the difficult decisions Hamilton faces during this current period of urban regeneration?  Here are five based on the priorities of the Chamber’s Renew Hamilton Project:

  • We need to define and promote a clear and unified picture of a revitalized lower city Hamilton – how do all the puzzle pieces fit together and where are the related investment opportunities?
  • We need to build a worldclass light rail transit system that improves sustainable mobility and drives high quality development/redevelopment.
  • We need to direct future population growth to the heart of our city where there’s existing infrastructure and services.
  • We need to take measured risks to realize the full renewal potential of city-owned lands on the waterfront and in adjacent areas.
  • We need to make it easier for the private sector to invest in a shared dream of a better Hamilton.

Murphy said all cities in transition face the same challenge: “Imagining what you can be, not what you are today,” he said, adding the need to be “intentional” about the future.

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