WEST VALLEY CITY — During a recent meeting of the National League of Cities' First Tier Suburbs Council in Garland, Texas, West Valley City Councilman Corey Rushton explored innovative solutions to redevelopment issues and learned how to translate best practices into reality.

"This committee is very ambitious in identifying and researching innovative solutions to the common challenges that our communities all share," Rushton said.

Local officials from first-tier suburban communities struggle with the challenges of redevelopment, including aging housing stock and infrastructure, outdated land-use regulations and sprawl.

In response to these challenges, city officials learned about downtown revitalization efforts that spur new growth while retaining community character, as well as efforts to plan and leverage new development around Dallas Area Rapid Transit stations.

The cities of Garland, Plano, Duncanville, North Richland Hills and Richardson took advantage of the opportunity to bring new life to their communities by combining deliberate growth patterns, public/private partnerships and community support and participation.

In addition to touring successful redevelopment projects, city officials heard from national experts and discussed challenges and solutions to regionalism; retail revitalization; transit-oriented development; neighborhood vitality; changes in the real estate market; and strategic approaches to economic development attraction.

The First Tier Suburbs Council is comprised of local officials from communities outside of central cities and inside the ring of developing suburbs and rural areas. The National League of Cities is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

— Amy K. Stewart