Tag: Free technical assistance

Green River, WY hosts workshop to align development code with master plan

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The sun sets over Tollgate Rock in Green River, WY. Photo by Jonathan Percy, via Flickr.

When a small town has big plans for changing its development patterns, how does it put them into action? From fixing restrictive codes to working with the real estate community—what the first steps to smart growth?

On August 27 and 28, 2014, officials and residents from Green River, WY met with representatives from Smart Growth America for an expert-led workshop focused on implementing the ambitious vision inside the new Green River Comprehensive Master Plan. Provided as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program, the two-day event was designed to provide the City with tools to modernize its development codes so that they encourage the types of growth outlined in the plan’s vision.

The Green River Comprehensive Master Plan was adopted in January 2013 after a year-long public input process. The plan lays out the community’s long-term vision and serves as a blueprint for future growth and investment within the city and surrounding areas. For the implementation process, Green River leaders sought technical assistance from Smart Growth America, hoping to bring the city’s development codes into better alignment with the master plan’s principles. The resulting two-day workshop helped Green River identify high-priority code fixes to promote infill development and redevelopment, preserve and revitalize existing neighborhoods, and promote orderly development in suitable outlying areas.

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Huntington, WV hosts workshop to implement Plan 2025’s vision of reinvestment

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Pullman Square in downtown Huntington, WV. Photo by Nicholas Eckhart via Flickr.

On August 5 and 6, 2014, Huntington, WV officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The city recently updated its comprehensive plan, Plan 2025, and this workshop aimed to provide Huntington with tools and techniques to implement Plan 2025’s vision of reinvestment in local infrastructure, housing and businesses. The workshop focused on how shifting development patterns towards more compact, transit-oriented development could benefit the local economy and local government finances.

“The City of Huntington is committed to seeking the tools and training to help develop strategies that reduce negative outcomes from a combined stormwater and sanitary system and encourage quality housing, and business development,” Mayor Steve Williams said. “We’re excited to work with Smart Growth America to find solutions to these and other local issues that will make our city even more attractive in the future.”

Posted in Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health, Technical assistance, Uncategorized, West Virginia | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Webinar recap: All about our free technical assistance workshops

epa-ta-webinar-2014Applications are currently open for Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops, and earlier this week we hosted a webinar to discuss details of the opportunity.

If you missed the webinar, you can now view the presentation slides. The slides include an overview of the application process, everything you need to know about each workshop type, and the components of a strong application. Still have questions? Email assistance@smartgrowthamerica.org and we’ll do our best to answer them.

This opportunity is currently open, but applications are due soon! Submit your application by October 23, 2014 by 5:00 PM EDT.

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Applications now being accepted for Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops

ta-workshops-2015Participants break into small groups to discuss local development issues at one of our past workshops. 

Is your city interested in smart growth, but not sure how to make it happen? Bring in the development experts with one of Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops.

Posted in Blog, Complete Streets, Technical assistance | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Salisbury, MD hosts downtown walkability tour

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The City of Salisbury, MD envisions its downtown as one that is both walkable and sustainable. To complement the city’s downtown revitalization efforts, Salisbury officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on June 11 and 12, 2014, as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. Promoting pedestrian and cyclist activity downtown is a priority for the city in order to encourage residents to visit the area and patronize local businesses. Through a partnership with Smart Growth America, the City of Salisbury and its residents worked to identify solutions to challenges facing pedestrians and cyclists navigating the area.

“We want more people knowing how to discover our Downtown businesses,” said James Ireton, Jr., Mayor of the City of Salisbury. “Smart Growth America will provide us with the resources to focus our efforts on making it easier for more people to live, work, and play Downtown.”

On the first day of the workshop, residents attended an introductory presentation that discussed the current state of Salisbury’s pedestrian and cyclist network and the importance of walkability in achieving the city’s vision of a revitalized Downtown. Residents returned the following day for a bicycle tour and then walking tour to provide insight on challenges cyclists and pedestrians encounter.

In January 2014, Salisbury was one of 18 communities selected by Smart Growth America to participate in the free technical assistance program. Stretching from New Hampshire to Idaho, these communities represent major cities, suburban centers, and rural towns alike.

“We are excited to be in an elite class of cities receiving this support from Smart Growth America,” said Salisbury City Council President Jacob Day. “Salisbury’s economy can thrive with greater investments in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and with a greater density of economic activity in the core. This grant will help us plan our evolution.”

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Since the workshop: Chula Vista, CA strives for energy efficiency and sustainable development

chula vistaThe farmers market at the Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista, CA. Photo by Kurt Bunch

Last fall, Smart Growth America visited the City of Chula Vista, the second-largest city in San Diego County, CA, to deliver technical assistance on using the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) rating system as a framework for pursuing sustainable development at the neighborhood scale. The workshop helped inform Chula Vista staff, developers and the community on the energy saving benefits of smart growth site design.

Since the early 1990s, Chula Vista has been working to address climate change and reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions through a number of programs and policies. Its Climate Action Plan (CAP) was one of the first of its kind in the State of California. The City has partnered with its local utility for the past five years to explore ways to reduce GHGs and improve energy efficiency in new development. Smart Growth America’s technical assistance workshop gave the City the opportunity to explore LEED-ND as an approach, in terms of energy efficiency and green site design, to achieving the sustainability goals outlined in its CAP.

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County of Kauaʻi, HI seeks parking solutions for Līhu’e Town Core

lihue2A road through Līhu’e, HI. Photo by Melissa Emmons via Flickr

The County of Kaua‘i is working to revitalize the Līhu‘e Town Core and position Rice Street as the main street of Kaua‘i. The County’s success, however, largely depends on managing parking in the area. To that end, County officials met in Līhu‘e with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 6 and 7, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program.

“We are grateful to Smart Growth America for partnering with our team so that we can involve the entire community in this effort,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. “Creating better parking solutions for the Līhu‘e’s Town Core is important to the revitalization of this area. We’ll use lessons learned and apply them to other parts of our island. It’s a great win-win for all concerned.”

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Kenosha County, WI hosts workshop on developing a Complete Streets policy

IMG_20140507_174359_349The Kenosha streetcar crossing 6th Avenue. Photo by Colin Murphy

Officials and residents of Kenosha County, in partnership with Downtown Kenosha, met with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 6 and 7, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop provided the City with tools and strategies to develop a Complete Streets policy in line with the City’s Downtown Strategic Development Plan, which forms the basis of efforts to revitalize Kenosha’s downtown. A Complete Streets policy will help the City plan and design its streets to be safe, comfortable and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or hopping on public transportation.

“Development of a Complete Streets policy will strengthen our commitment to being a healthy and safe community with a strong quality of life, and to welcome people by all modes of travel,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. “Improving connectivity to Downtown Kenosha is an essential step toward implementation of the Downtown Strategic Development Plan. We are excited to partner with Smart Growth America and look forward to opportunities to make our downtown accessible to everyone.”

On the workshop’s first day, residents gathered for an introductory presentation that provided an overview of the benefits of Complete Streets and the policies that support them. The next day was an all-day workshop where key stakeholders met with instructors from the National Complete Streets Coalition to discuss the various types of Complete Streets policies, what the right approach could be for Kenosha, and how Kenosha can move forward with developing its own Complete Streets policy.

Posted in Blog, Complete Streets: Policy Development, Technical assistance, Uncategorized, Wisconsin, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Since the workshop: Port Isabel, TX looks at the bigger picture of redevelopment

port isabel4Skyline view of Port Isabel from the Laguna Madre Bay. Photo by Valerie D. Bates

Smart Growth America visited Port Isabel, TX in May 2013 to provide the City with tools to implement smart growth strategies. In particular, the City was looking to revitalize two main areas in its south side—the Old Garcia Street District and the South Shore Drive District. These two neighborhoods, characterized by lasting damages from Hurricane Dolly in 2008, vacant or abandoned properties, as well as obsolete businesses, had fallen behind their counterparts in the northern part of the city.

At the workshop on May 22, 2013, Smart Growth America’s experts met with City officials, residents, and business owners to discuss smart growth in the context of Port Isabel, a small community of about 5000 people. Port Isabel, with historic development patterns and architecture dating to the turn of the 20th Century, is in stark contrast to the high-rise hotels and condominiums of South Padre Island, directly across the causeway. The City’s revitalization plans are part of a larger effort to distinguish Port Isabel as a different type of tourist destination, as well as a comfortable place for families to live year-round.

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West Baltimore, MD hosts workshop on preparing for the Red Line and future transit-oriented development

harlem-parkWest Baltimore could see a lot of changes with the proposed Red Line stations. Harlem Park station model via baltimoreredline.com

A new transit line is slated to be built in West Baltimore, MD, and on March 15, 2014 Smart Growth America met with West Baltimore leaders to discuss how the community can make the most of this new neighborhood asset.

The March 15 workshop was designed to help West Baltimore plan for better development around several proposed Red Line stations. At the meeting public officials presented on programs targeted to address the existing challenges residents see in the neighborhood. Much of the discussion centered on how to attract development to the corridor in conjunction with the planned Red Line stations, as well as how to ensure that development is equitable, and serves the neighborhood’s current residents as well as the community’s broader needs.

Posted in Implementing transit-oriented development 101, Maryland, Technical assistance, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment