Category: Local Leaders Council

Neighborhood revitalization workshop teaches Maryland leaders new strategies and ways to overcome challenges

Maryland revitalization workshopLocal leaders from Western Maryland and Maryland’s Eastern Shore discuss revitalization challenges and successes.

Nearly twenty members of the Maryland Chapter of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council gathered in Silver Spring, MD on Friday, March 13 for a Revitalizing Downtowns and Regional Centers for the Triple Bottom Line workshop sponsored by Smart Growth America and 1000 Friends of Maryland. Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer, an Advisory Board member of the Maryland Chapter, sponsored the event at the Silver Spring Civic Building in the heart of Downtown Silver Spring.

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Department of Planning Executive Director Rick Bernhardt on community engagement for a better Nashville, TN

rbernhardtRick Bernhardt, right, discusses different development strategies with Nashville residents. Photo by NashvilleNext via Twitter.

Nashville, TN, is a creative city with a rich history in the arts that has recently seen new growth in both its population and economy. Rick Bernhardt, the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County Planning Department and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is working to make sure the city’s development supports that growth.

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Councilmember Amber Waldref on improving corridors and quality of life for residents in Spokane, WA

City of Spokane, WA. Photo via City of Spokane on Facebook.

At the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Spokane, WA, is using smart growth to manage growth and improve quality of life for residents.

Spokane is a scenic city centered on the Spokane River with a population of 210,000. According to Amber Waldref, District One Councilmember and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, the city is an “urban area with a small town feel.” Several smart growth projects—including updating design standards, a new form based code, improved transit, and building incentives downtown—will help Spokane be the vibrant, walkable city that residents desire.

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Mason, MI is growing from the inside out

Mason AerialDowntown Mason, MI. Photo courtesy of the City of Mason.

Mason, MI, established in the 19th century as a small town center, eventually became the seat of the surrounding county while vying to become the new state capital. Although Lansing, located just to the north, was ultimately selected as the capital, Mason has managed to remain a small but distinct community while experiencing population growth of roughly 20 percent in the last decade.

“Mason is a very friendly and welcoming place where people take a lot of pride in the community,” says Mayor Pro Tem Marlon Brown, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. “Ultimately, what makes Mason so special are the people.”

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Registration now open for the 2015 Local Leaders Council Policy Forum

llc-policy-forum-2015-banner

Are you a local leader working to build a robust downtown, expand housing choices, or create healthy neighborhoods? If so, we want you to join us in Washington, DC this spring.

Elected and high level appointed officials from around the country are invited to Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council second annual Policy Forum from May 31 to June 1, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Local Leaders Council is a bipartisan group of over 200 councilmembers, mayors, agency directors and county officials who share an interest in smart growth.

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Town Supervisor David Tennent on connecting communities in rural Campbell, NY


Town of Campbell, NY. Photo via Town of Campbell website.

Residents of Campbell, NY, want a vibrant main street while maintaining their rural atmosphere. David Tennent, Town Supervisor and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is using smart growth strategies to improve walkability, foster local business, and enhance natural resources to provide the Campbell that the residents desire.

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Councilmember Ali Saleh uses smart growth to build economic resilience in Bell, California


City of Bell, California. Photo via Joshua Orizaga on Google.

The City of Bell is a small two-square-mile suburb on the outskirts of Los Angeles, CA. Following a political scandal in the early 2000s that left the city almost bankrupt, Bell has made a remarkable recovery. With their finances back on track, it is more important than ever for the city to make fiscally responsible decisions and improve the lives of residents. The city is using smart growth to make that happen.

Councilmember Ali Saleh, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, has been instrumental to the City of Bell’s fiscal stability. Elected in 2011, Saleh first served as mayor and now sits on the City Council. Saleh has supported several smart growth strategies that will improve the economy and the day-to-day lives of residents.

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Commissioner Ron Beitler on Lower Macungie, PA: A Community at a Crossroads

macungie Hamilton Boulevard in Lower Macungie, PA, overlaid with an artist’s rendering of proposed changed. Image by Kairos Design Group for Lower Macungie Township.

Creating a better, stronger Lower Macungie Township is about more than just a job for Commissioner Ron Beitler. It’s about his roots and hometown pride, it’s about his future and the future of his family. For Beitler, a vibrant Lower Macungie is deeply personal.

Beitler, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is a lifelong resident of Lower Macungie, PA, a third-ring suburb of Allentown located on the western end of the Lehigh Valley. Beitler and his wife live in a house less than three blocks away from the house he grew up in, where his parents still live. In fact, most of Beitler’s family members live in Lower Macungie.

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