DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Another major event is happening in North Texas on Friday. More than 200 mayors from across the country are in Dallas for a four-day conference. The U.S. Conference of Mayors brings together leaders from both large and smaller cities to discuss a variety of urban planning issues — transportation, housing, education, jobs, minimum wage criminal affairs and veteran affairs, to name a few.
It is an annual rite of summer. The mayors meet to analyze and brainstorm common problems that need to be solved, and share ways to tackle a few of those issues. A similar winter meeting is held each year in the nation’s capital.
The event began on Friday morning with a welcome breakfast on the Continental Avenue bridge. Dallas hopes to use the bridge as an example of a public/private partnership that works. Private money helped fund the new outdoor recreation area, which just opened on Sunday.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also looks to showcase the Dallas Arts District, the biggest in the country.
“I think, for me though, it’s really to work on the long-term visions for our cities,” Rawlings said on Friday. “We’ve got short-term issues, and we need to deal with those things, but what’s the future of our cities?”
Maria Shriver and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be on hand for special presentations. Shriver is scheduled to talk about women living on the brink of poverty, while the NBA legend is heading up a session about race and politics in America.
The mayors are also set to vote on policy resolutions that will be sent to the nation’s captial for federal consideration.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is yet another big event to be held in Dallas within the past few days. Last week, Rawlings hosted a star-studded welcome party for the Republican National Convention site selection committee. Dallas is among the finalists competing to host the convention in 2016. Then, earlier this week, the New Cities Summit brought more than 800 world leaders to Big D for an urban planning conference.
However, Dallas recently lost out on a chance to host the Summer Olympics in 2024.
Rawlings on Friday addressed criticism that came up earlier this week about the city’s urban core. “We’ve got work to do, and you’re going to be seeing those things that are happening in our urban core as well,” he said. “Downtown is growing. But, look, I won’t trade places with anybody in this nation.”
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