Author Archives: Rayla Bellis

Attend the 2014 Local Leaders Policy Forum

policy-forum

Elected and high-level appointed leaders in local government are invited to attend Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Policy Forum on June 15-16, 2014, in Washington, DC.

The Policy Forum will provide a unique opportunity to meet fellow leaders from around the country who are using smart growth strategies to help their communities compete and grow in today’s economy, to provide housing and transportation choices for residents and to create great places to live, work and play.

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Local Leaders Council members share insights at the 2014 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

St. Louis, MO Council President Lewis Reed, Smart Growth America's Neha Bhatt, Columbia, MO Councilmember Barbara Hoppe, Queen Anne's County, MD Commissioner David Dunmyer and Las Cruces, NM Mayor Pro-Tem Sharon Thomas participate in a panel discussion at the New Partners for Smart Growth conferenceFrom left: St. Louis, MO Council President Lewis Reed, Smart Growth America’s Neha Bhatt, Columbia, MO Councilmember Barbara Hoppe, Queen Anne’s County, MD Commissioner David Dunmyer and Las Cruces, NM Mayor Pro-Tem Sharon Thomas participate in a panel discussion at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference.

Members of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council gathered in Denver, CO last week to share their smart growth experiences and ideas at the 2014 New Partners for Smart Growth conference. Over the course of the three-day event, Council members brought their unique perspective to the smart growth development discussion.

“Eight to ten people working really hard can go far in mobilizing a community,” said Councilmember Barbara Hoppe of Columbia, MO, expressing one of the core themes of the conference—the power of public engagement. 

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EPA recognizes Dubuque, IA and Mayor Roy Buol among top smart growth projects of 2013

Dubuque, IA's Millwork DistrictFormerly vacant factories in Dubuque’s Millwork District will include affordable housing units, retail space for small businesses, and a variety of art, social and civic spaces. Photo by “turn off your computer and go outside,” via Flickr.

Congratulations to Dubuque, IA, one of seven communities chosen to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies’s annual National Award for Smart Growth Achievement this year. Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol is a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council and played an instrumental leadership role in Dubuque’s award-winning project.

The award recognizes exceptional approaches to development that respect the environment, foster economic vitality, enhance quality of life, and provide new opportunities for disadvantaged communities.

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Laura Jackson of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield on creating healthier communities

Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently spoke with Laura Jackson, an Executive Vice President of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, to get her perspective on why smart growth strategies should be a priority for the health care industry and how the way we build communities can help abate rising health care costs and improve public health.

“Smart growth practices are a way to help people understand that there are certain things you can do, either low cost or no cost in many cases in communities, to live a longer healthier life,” says Jackson.

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Five Local Leaders Council members join President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

Local Leaders Council at the White HouseLocal Leaders Council members Mayor James Brainard and Mayor Ralph Becker (center) at a meeting of the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience last week. Photo via the Office of Governor Neil Abercrombie.

Congratulations to the five members of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council who have been appointed to President Obama’s new Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, a group of 26 state, local and tribal leaders from around the country charged with advising the Administration on how the federal government can respond to the needs of communities dealing with the impacts of climate change.

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Vice-Mayor Anu Natarajan on building better in Fremont, CA

Vice-Mayor Anu Natarajan believes her city of Fremont, CA, can be an economic leader in the region and the country. Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council sat down with Vice-Mayor Natarajan to learn more about her ideas for building on the city’s existing diversity to make Fremont more vibrant and economically competitive.

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Mayor Madeline Rogero on brownfields redevelopment in Knoxville, TN

Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently interviewed Madeline Rogero, mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, to ask her how local governments can catalyze brownfields redevelopment and jumpstart revitalization. In the video above, Rogero discusses how strategic investments by local government have made brownfield sites in Knoxville more attractive to potential developers.

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Smart Growth America, MDOT and MSHDA release findings of year-long projects in five Michigan communities

Downtown Grand Rapids, MI. Photo by Keith Caterino. Downtown Grand Rapids, MI, one of five communities included in Smart Growth America’s work. Photo by Keith Caterino.

Smart Growth America is pleased to unveil a new resource today with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). The report, “Leading Livability: Pilot Transportation Demand Management and Mobility Management Programs of Five Michigan Communities”, is designed to help local leaders in Michigan learn how transportation and mobility improvements can strengthen their local economies and create more livable communities.

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Pennsylvania Governor signs Land Bank Act in to law

Last week Pennsylvania passed legislation that will equip communities in the state with a proven tool for fighting blight and vacancy and catalyzing economic development.

HB 1682, now known as the Land Bank Act, passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in February and the Senate in October before finally being signed by Governor Tom Corbett on October 24, 2012.

The new legislation enables municipalities in Pennsylvania to create land banks, local entities that can hold and manage vacant properties and direct their reuse and redevelopment. Land banks make it easier and cheaper for prospective buyers to redevelop blighted properties into homes and businesses, ultimately reversing cycles of economic decline and getting delinquent properties back on municipal tax rolls.

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Webinar highlights new guide for state transportation officials

On Friday, Smart Growth America participated in a webinar to highlight our new resource for state transportation officials, released recently in partnership with the State Smart Transportation Initiative.

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