Officials in Portage, Wis., will have about $152,000 to spend on pavement repairs and street sign and traffic light maintenance thanks to the city's $20 "wheel tax," which is applied to every new vehicle registration or renewal. City Administrator Shawn Murphy warns that state legislation could require voters to determine whether or not to continue collecting the tax.
City Council members in Auburn, Ala., have agreed to hire interim City Manager James Buston to run the city permanently. Buston has been serving as interim manager for the last six months.
Data from a comprehensive map of the Chicago area's tree canopy highlights the significance of greenery for neighborhoods in affecting property values, health and crime. "Areas where trees are prevalent, people tend to be outside, mingling, enjoying their community," says Lydia Scott of the Chicago Regional Tree Initiative, which created the database along with the Morton Arboretum.
Dog parks in cities can bring disparate people together while giving space to play for an increasing number of urban dogs. The phenomenon brings controversy, however, with territorial neighbors and worries about gentrification, safety and the lack of dog parks in low-income areas.
Florida's Palm Bay Police Department is having school resource officers and youth service officers spend time connecting with young people at area parks. "These guys will go to the parks, play some basketball with the kids or hand out coupons for Slurpees," said police Sgt. Cliff Graves.
Waupun, Wis., hopes to attract specific industries to boost its economic development and plans to update its brand and add website and social media content as part of an effort to do so. "Waupun is strong in agribusiness and advanced manufacturing ... but a newer sector we could possibly claim would be logistics transportation," said Kathy Schlieve, the city's director of economic development.
Indianapolis City-County Council members have approved plans to set a $13-per-hour "living wage" for city and county employees. "Thirteen dollars an hour is a baseline, and this is what we as a city need to be doing to lead by example," said City-County Council member Vop Osili.
Grand Rapids, Mich., City Manager Greg Sundstrom plans retire at the end of this year after working for the city since 1981. "It has been a joy to work with him over the years, and I appreciate all he has done for the organization and our community," said Mayor Rosalynn Bliss.
Free spraygrounds throughout Philadelphia "are great fun for kids, without the costs or the maintenance of pools," says Kathryn Ott Lovell, Parks and Recreation commissioner. The city features about 100 spraygrounds along with more than 70 pools.
A new park will be built and others refurbished in Clark County, Nev., thanks to more than $77 million in funding approved by county commission. Improvements will include new sports fields and courts, bathroom renovations, lighting and splash pads.
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