2023 Summer Meeting Recap: Innovation Showcase

This week, we are featuring a blog on the 2023 Summer Meeting Innovation Showcase which took place in Scranton, PA. Learn more about the meeting and access resources on the 2023 Summer Meeting page

By: Aaron Westling


The Innovation Showcase, a beloved staple of our in person convenings, is a lighting round of good ideas where city leaders get 3 minutes to share a good idea, policy, program or practice that they’ve implemented or are working to implement. This years’ Showcase took place on the stage of the historic Ritz Theater, and featured MIP Senior Advisor Betsy Hodges as the evening’s MC, who jokingly renamed the session “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Below are some of the cutting edge ideas being put into practice around the country. 


Mayor Satya-Rhodes Conway, Madison, WI

Mayor Rhodes-Conway highlighted the partnership between the City of Madison and the Madison Metropolitan School District to provide a free summer bus pass to all middle and high school students. The program helps to increase transit ridership, introduces youth to their local bus system, and allows students to access educational programs, jobs, and recreation throughout the summer months. 

Mayor Chris Rosenquest, Plattsburgh, New York

Mayor Rosenquest described the work done in Plattsburgh after 16 water mains broke within a 24-hours period in May 2022. In the six months following, the city replaced 6.5 miles of water distribution, 130 service lines to households, and 40 fire hydrants without raising taxes or utility rates. 

Mayor Derek Slaughter, Williamsport, PA

Mayor Slaughter talked about his Mondays with the Mayor series where he hosts weekly public conversations to provide information directly to his constituents. He has worked to host these events at different locations throughout the city, for example providing free exposure for local businesses and highlighting the jobs of municipal workers. 

Mayor Kim Norton, Rochester, MN

Mayor Norton shared that Rochester is in the process of constructing geothermal wells to electrify five main government buildings, including City Hall. The closed loop system will move the city away from fossil fuels while increasing efficiency and saving taxpayers money. Rochester plans to implement geothermal power beyond the original five buildings, developing an entire electrified district that is already piquing the interest of private sector developers. 

Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa, Amherst, NY

Supervisor Kulpa discussed the city’s efforts to replace a struggling mall with a new, thriving mixed-use neighborhood. The major undertaking will help to revitalize a largely underutilized area with housing, retail, park space, and increased transit connections between college campuses. 

Mayor Kelly Girtz, Athens, GA

Mayor Girtz highlighted Athens’ newly launched Justice and Memory Project. The project is a resident-led effort focused to address the history and impact of Urban Renewal in Athens-Clarke County. In addition to a formal apology and recognition of past harm to communities of color, the County committed $1.25 million to affordable housing preservation and another $1.25 million to the construction of a Center for Racial Justice and Black Futures. 

Mayor Benjamin Holbert, Woodmere, OH

Mayor Holbert discussed Woodmere’s purchase of an electric motorcycle for the police department. Utilizing a grant to help with the cost, Mayor Holbert sees this as a low-risk opportunity to prove the concept of electric vehicles in Woodmere and hopefully introduce more EVs to the city’s fleet moving forward. 

Mayor John Hamilton, Bloomington, IN

Mayor Hamilton shared Bloomington’s efforts to provide high-speed fiber internet service to all city residents. The Mayor believes that reliable internet service should be available to everyone, just like other infrastructure such as roads and electricity. The City’s innovative Fiber Initiative will allow eligible low-income residents to receive at least a symmetrical 250 megabits per second (Mbps) plan at no cost. 


Thank you to all our Showcase presenters for sharing their innovations and sending us all home with some new ideas!