Two New England Cities Mark 50th Anniversary with NLC
Davis, Lance, Nation's Cities Weekly
This year marks two cities' 50-year anniversary as members of the National League of Cities.
New Haven, Conn., and Manchester, N.H., joined NLC in 1954, shortly after the League began admitting member cities.
NLC was founded in 1924 by 10 state municipal leagues that saw the need for a national organization dedicated to strengthening local government. In 1947, the organization opened membership to cities with populations of 100,000 or more. In 1964, the organization changed its name from the American Municipal Association to the National League of Cities. In 1977, NLC opened its membership to cities and towns of all sizes.
Currently NLC boasts more than 1,600 direct member cities and represents more than 18,000 cities, towns and villages through the 49 state municipal associations.
New Haven, Conn. Pop. 123, 626
Known as the Elm City, New Haven is located on the Long Island Sound between New York and Boston. The city was founded more than 350 years ago by English Puritans, but now boasts a diverse population that includes Irish, German, Jewish, Italian, African-American, Latino and Asian cultures.
Former NLC President John DeStefano Jr., has served six terms as the city's mayor.
During his tenure as president of the National League of Cities, DeStefano advocated to improve early childhood education in the United States. He is widely credited for effectively prioritizing early education and homeland security issues for America's cities and towns, while helping to win key funding battles on these fronts.
New Haven was named an "All-America City" in 1998 and in 2003.
In 1999, based on the city's success as a federal Enterprise Community, New Haven was named a federal Empowerment Zone, one of just 15 cities given that status out of the 119 communities that sought the honor. …