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GSA's Barram Presents 'Good Neighbor Program' to Urban Leaders A 'Good Neighbor' and a New Partnership with America's Cities

GSA #9345

October 1, 1996
Contact: Johanna Roark
Pager: 888-351-6215
Hap Connors
202-501-1231

GSA's Barram Presents 'Good Neighbor Program' to Urban Leaders
A 'Good Neighbor' and a New Partnership with America's Cities


CLEVELAND -- In a speech to over 1,000 urban leaders meeting here today, David J. Barram, Acting Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, outlined the agency's new "Good Neighbor Program," a public-private partnership with urban downtown associations that will enhance the business community's efforts to maintain the vitality of American cities. Under the program, GSA, which manages real estate and procurements for civilian federal agencies, will become a full participant in local"Business Improvement Districts."

Barram took his message about GSA's "Good Neighbor Program" to the Council for Urban Economic Development's (CUED) national conference in Cleveland. Barram said, "With this program, GSA will work with urban leaders in a new and constructive partnership to leverage federal resources with local resources and become really 'Good Neighbors.'"

Barram also read a letter of support from Vice President Al Gore, who chairs the Clinton Administration's Community Empowerment Board, that said:"The President and I believe that simple measures like this one are concrete steps toward reinventing the federal government and creating a new way of doing business with communities. These BIDs are an excellent example of how public-private partnerships can help our nation's cities."

Barram unveiled the"Good Neighbor Program" yesterday at a speech to members of the International Downtown Association gathered at their annual conference in Dallas, TX. Barram's announcement was enthusiastically received by the more than 500 IDA members gathered at the conference, who represent cities across America.

Barram said that the"Good Neighbor Program" establishes a new approach for GSA to contract for local services to the extent possible and participate in community planning efforts. When asked by local organizations, GSA will negotiate contracts for security, maintenance, cleaning and other services currently provided under local"Business Improvement Districts." GSA will also participate in advisory boards and committees"at the invitation of the local community," he said.

As he did in Dallas with the IDA, Barram joined John Claypool, CUED President, in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to cooperate in revitalizing urban areas and to begin discussions on how to best implement the"Good Neighbor Program."

"This program is one more example of how the Clinton Administration is building bridges between our nation's urban areas and the federal government," Claypool said."Enhancing the social and economic fabric of our urban areas should be the goal of all Americans because we're all affected. We welcome this announcement and look forward to working with GSA to make this effort succeed."

The"Good Neighbor Program" builds on existing Clinton Administration urban policies involving GSA and federal real estate activity. Two Executive Orders -- E.O. 12072 and 13006 -- require federal agencies to first consider locating in central business areas and in historic buildings and districts that best serve communities. E.O. 12072 was issued in 1976 under the Carter Administration and was affirmed when President Clinton issued Executive Order 13006.

GSA is also part of Vice President Gore's Community Empowerment Board that oversees the Clinton Administration's Empowerment Zone initiative. Under the initiative, GSA has transferred excessed federal properties and supplies and provided technical support to local communities.

The agency has also transferred hundreds of excessed federal computers to schools located in Empowerment Zones and other areas across the country as part of President Clinton's Executive Order 12999, which outlines the Administration's"computers-to-schools" program.

"Through all of these efforts, we are building partnerships with local communities to bring out the best instincts of government," Barram said.