Getting things done in Fresno: Meet Suzanne Hague

Posted by Gretchen Moore

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As a member of the White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative, Suzanne Hague has spent the last two years as theEPA’s Community Planner in Fresno, CA. She has expertise is in urban planning and community revitalization and her work has focused on providing technical assistance to planning projects as well as coordinating city plans with regional and state initiatives.

With the conclusion of the SC2 program, Suzanne’s time in Fresno has come to a close. This city was so fortunate to have had an opportunity to benefit from Suzanne’s tremendous knowledge base and work experience. Her leadership with Fresno’s Infill Development Task Force, in particular, has elevated the dialogue among Fresno’s investors and has ignited a smart approach to developing the city’s urban core.

Suzanne is particularly gifted at working effectively across ideological divides and she has worked tirelessly to advance economic growth and revitalization in the city of Fresno. We chatted with Suzanne about her history, her thoughts on Fresno and her plans for the future.

Hometown: Pittsburgh PA

Education: BA Psychology, University of Michigan; BA Anthropology University of Michigan; Southern California Institute of Architecture; Master of Urban Planning, Harvard University

Job title: Community Planner

Cities where you’ve lived:

Pittsburgh PA, Ann Arbor MI, Los Angeles/West Hollywood CA, Cambridge MA, Washington DC, Fresno, CA

In your time here, where do you feel Fresno has made the most progress?

Implementation capacity. The City had a strong vision and a lot of great plans underway when we (SC2 team) “hit the ground.” Since then, the City and its many community partners have made great strides in figuring out how to IMPLEMENT the vision and plans, from obtaining resources to engaging strategic partners to studying and adopting policies, tools and strategies. It is hard work but it is really exciting to see plans becoming reality.

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What do you see as the greatest challenge in Fresno’s future?

Disparities: wealth, health, education, quality of life, access to resources, etc. It is heartbreaking to see many people struggling to achieve a very basic standard of living. I have a lot of gratitude and admiration for the terrific organizations and initiatives working to expand access to opportunity to all Fresnans, but there is a lot of work still to be done.

What are you reading?

I’m reading some talks by Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron. She is probably the person I most want to meet of anyone living today, and I’m going to go to get that chance next month!

Your time in Fresno is quickly coming to a close, where will we find you next?

I will have a position in Sacramento with the California Strategic Growth Council working with communities along the High Speed Rail corridor.

That’s good news for California as Suzanne will use her exceptional experience, unending reliability and phenomenal work ethic to ensure smart implementation of High Speed Rail in the state.

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