Cambridge to Host Conference

City Leaders From Across Country Will Discuss Development Strategies

Cambridge will be the site of the October meeting of an organization representing leaders of cities across the country.

The Community and Economic Development Steering Committee of the National League of Cities (CED), which gathers leaders from 35 American cities, will meet in Cambridge the weekend of October 5 to devise economic development strategies and means for responding to changes in federal housing legislation.

"It's quite an honor," said Francis H. Duehay '55, who led the city's efforts to host the conference. "All the members want the publicity and the opportunity to showcase their community."

Duehay said the CED will spend most of its time discussing ways of lobbying Congress to restore funds for community block grants, a federal program which provides cities with money to undertake community-based redevelopment projects.

As part of its efforts to curb federal spending, Congress approved a preliminary proposal earlier this summer to trim block grants by 30 percent of last year's levels. The cuts, however, must again be approved next month as part of the final budget act.


"[The cuts] would be devestating to areas seeking to provide and improve upon [their] affordable housing stock," Duehay said.

Duehay said that Cambridge will lose $700,000 in federal block grant funds unless the cuts are restored. The city received $3.4 million last year, he said.

"They're passing problems and cutting money,"s he said. "We want to fight back, raise objections and save good programs."

Conference participants, who will include city councillors and mayors, will be invited to tour Cambridge neighborhoods and housing developments to see examples of creative ways in which the city has spent its previous block grants.

The group will also tour Portsmouth, N.H., and discuss means of engaging in historic preservation of downtown areas, Duehay said.

Meetings will take place at MIT, the Marriott Hotel and Commonwealth Edison.

Cities to be represented include Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Richmond.