Category: Pennsylvania

Supervisor Sandy Ballard aims to build on the history of “The Sweetest Place on Earth”

7633359228_be2e8253e8_kHershey, PA. Photo by Jon Dawson via Flickr.

In the early 1900s, Milton Hershey had a plan for a chocolate factory. Using proceeds from the sale of his caramel company, Hershey bought land for the factory in central Pennsylvania’s Derry Township, near his birthplace. What would follow, however, was much more than just a factory. Based on Hershey’s vision, Hershey, PA grew to include schools, shops, a theater, a stadium, and even the Hershey Amusement Park, which was originally intended for the recreational use of employees and their families. The indelible imprint that Hershey left on Derry Township can be seen in everything from the Milton Hershey School, which continues to educate underprivileged children, to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, founded after Hershey’s death through an endowment of his trust, to the Hershey’s Kiss–shaped street lights that adorn downtown Chocolate Avenue.

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Smarter parking codes to promote smart growth

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Unless you’re walking to your destination in a busy downtown neighborhood, chances are good that you need parking at the end of the trip. Nowadays, several cities are changing their thinking on parking regulations in response to the growing demand for car-light living.

Typically, parking rules are used to establish the minimum number of off-street private car parking spaces that must be provided in new residential and commercial developments. This helps manage traffic and congestion as new projects and more people come to the area, and it helps keep parking demand from overtaking supply over time. However, the following cities are modernizing their approach and tackling the parking issue in new ways.

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Partnership in the news: Pittsburgh transit center moves forward with implementation plan

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Last year the city of Pittsburgh, PA received a $15 million U.S Department of Transportation TIGER IV Grant for the construction of a multi-modal transit center in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood. The transit center will serve as the hub for nearly 1,000 bus arrivals and departures per day.

The board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) recently adopted a Transit Revitalization District Implementation Plan which calls for future real estate tax revenue to secure bonds to finance infrastructure improvements in East Liberty, furthering the city’s transit oriented development goals.

Improvements for the transit center include a two-level station linking bus rapid transit service with street level bus service as well as realignment and reopening of streets, sidewalks, landscaping, a replacement road bridge, adaptive traffic signals, and a bike and pedestrian access bridge.

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Dauphin County, PA hosts workshop on smart growth implementation

Hummelstown PA

Dauphin County officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on September 18 and 19, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop helped the community envision smart growth strategies in the context of Dauphin County, an area with varying levels of development density. It also helped to inform the county’s comprehensive planning process.

“We are excited about the opportunity to host this free, grant-funded technical assistance program in Dauphin County,” said Dauphin County Board of Commissioners’ Chairman Jeff Haste. “The goal is to develop local solutions to help our community grow in ways that will provide benefits now and for generations to come.”

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Envision Lehigh Valley, PA

Easton, PA
Easton, PA in the Lehigh Valley. Photo by Lehigh Valley, PA via Flickr.

A 2011 Regional Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is helping Lehigh Valley, PA plan for a vibrant future.

Located conveniently between the Philadelphia and New York City metropolitan areas, the Lehigh Valley is currently home to approximately 650,000 people. The region’s population is projected to grow over the next 20 years by as much as 145,000 people, and the region wants to make sure it’s prepared for the demands such growth will bring.

Envision Lehigh Valley is doing just that. The three-year effort promoting a vibrant future for the region was made possible by a 2011 Regional Planning Grant from HUD. The project officially launched in July 2012 with a broad consortium of partners and five focus areas: affordable housing, regional economic development, access to fresh food, transportation, and climate and energy efficiency. The five focus areas will help inform a new comprehensive plan for the region.

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Exploring the economic benefits of walkable, sustainable development along the Keystone Corridor with PennDOT


Coatesville, PA is home to a station on the Amtrak Keystone Line. Photo by the Chester County Planning Commission via Flickr.

The 104-mile long Keystone Rail Line that runs from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, PA, has played a significant role in shaping the towns around its 12 stations. Now, new investments in the line are creating opportunities for development along the corridor.

In 2006, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Amtrak completed a $145.5 million infrastructure improvement program to increase train frequency and service reliability along the Keystone Corridor. These improvements have the potential to attract new development – and new economic growth – to the areas around stations along the rail line.

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Brownfields grants double their benefit with new health center trend

An architect’s rendering of the future Spectrum Health Services building. Image via Spectrum Health Services.

Cleaning up contaminated land – known to environmental regulators as “brownfields” – has a long list of health benefits as a result of cleaner air, water and soil. Now, a cleaned up brownfield site might fix your sprained ankle, too.

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Hershey, PA updates its comprehensive plan


The Hershey Theater in Derry Township, Hershey, Pennsylvania. Photo by Mr. T in DC.

Hershey is a rural town of 25,000 residents in the center of Pennsylvania, best known for being home to The Hershey Company and Hershey Park. Now, Hershey’s Derry Township is working to make sure new development benefits residents and visitors alike.

In 2010, the city’s Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to update Hershey’s 1991 Comprehensive Plan and zoning ordinances to include smart growth policies. To help achieve this goal, Hershey applied for and received a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America and Clarion Associates, on Smart Growth Zoning Codes for Small Cities.

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