Tag: Local Leaders Council

Councilman Jon Snyder on how Complete Streets are helping to improve Spokane, WA

Bike lanes in downtown Spokane. Photo by Orin Blomberg, via FlickrBike lanes in downtown Spokane. Photo by Orin Blomberg, via Flickr.

During his first term on the Spokane, WA City Council, Councilman Jon Snyder, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, experienced a lesson that he has carried with him since. “As a leader, you need to understand the difference between a policy that may take several years to develop, and those that represent a flaw in the system that should be called out and remedied quickly.”

Councilman Snyder worked for two years to pass a Complete Streets ordinance (PDF) in Spokane, a process that took time, perseverance and creativity. Snyder credits a broad coalition of support to the ordinance’s eventual passage in 2011: During the meeting where the City Council approved the ordinance, a diverse group of community members, including representatives from schools, older adults, persons with disabilities, the local farmers’ market, and businesses all spoke in favor of policy adoption.

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How a single parking space represents change in Ithaca, NY

Smart growth strategies are helping improve economic mobility in Ithaca, NY.Smart growth strategies at work in downtown in Ithaca, NY.

If you walk by the mayor’s office building in Ithaca, NY, you might notice a curious sight. Outside in the parking lot, in what once was a parking space reserved for the mayor, now lies what appears to be a small park—complete with benches, plantings and nearby bicycle parking. It may seem odd that a standing mayor would forgo his or her own reserved parking space to make way for a park, but that’s exactly what Mayor Svante Myrick did. The unconventional move is just one indication of Myrick’s commitment to smart growth strategies and how they can benefit all residents of the city.

Myrick is the mayor of Ithaca and a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. First elected to Ithaca’s city council at the age of 20 and then to the mayor’s office in 2011 at the age of 24, Myrick saw the parking space outside his office as an opportunity to show residents it’s possible to think differently about their community—especially the role of public space, mobility and active streets.

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Local Leaders Council members convene at National League of Cities conference

Members of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council gathered in Washington, DC on Sunday for a reception at the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference. Local Leaders Council members from communities around the country had the opportunity to connect with Smart Growth America staff and introduce fellow colleagues who are passionate about building great communities to the benefits of the Local Leaders Council.

After a welcome from Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson and Transportation for America co-chair John Robert Smith, two Local Leaders Council members discussed how the Council has helped them to address issues in their communities. Bill Fulton, Director of Planning for the City of San Diego, CA (and former Vice President of Smart Growth America) explained how both Democratic and Republican mayors in San Diego were supportive of smart growth strategies. This approach is crucial as San Diego aims to attract aging baby boomers looking for more walkable, convenient neighborhoods while also appealing to younger millennials, Fulton explained.

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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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Local Leaders Council members in Maryland meet to learn and share ideas for building community support

Maryland local leaders gather for a "Communicating Smart Growth" workshop on February 6, 2014.Local Leaders Council members in Maryland gather for a workshop on February 6, 2014.

Maryland county and city officials and staff met on February 6, 2014 for a half-day workshop designed for members of the Local Leaders Council and co-sponsored by Smart Growth America and 1000 Friends of Maryland.

The workshop provided participants with the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s experiences building community support for smart growth initiatives. Participants discussed the values that resonate in their communities, from economic prosperity and fiscal responsibility to environmental stewardship and quality of life.

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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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Mitch Silver shares secrets to Raleigh, NC’s success in attracting innovative companies and talent

Fayetteville StFayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. Photo by Ted Buckner via Flickr.

Mitch Silver, Chief Planning and Economic Development Officer for Raleigh, NC, and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is using a variety of smart growth tools to help manage the city’s population growth and to support a dynamic and innovative business climate.

Raleigh is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. It is also one of the anchors for North Carolina’s Research Triangle, which is widely known as a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Mayor Nan Whaley on economic transformation in Dayton, OH

The Greater Downtown Plan will guide development for Dayton, OH Photo via jimcrotty.com.The Greater Downtown Plan will guide development for Dayton, OH Photo via jimcrotty.com.

Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, OH and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, sees smart growth strategies playing an important role in positioning the city for a new generation of economic vibrancy.

A former city commissioner, Whaley was elected mayor of Dayton in November, 2013. In her inaugural speech she was upfront about the challenges the community faces, including economic stagnation brought on by a decline in the city’s manufacturing base and reduced federal spending affecting a major nearby Air Force base.

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Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council welcomes 100th member

LLC Board meetingThe Local Leaders Council’s inaugural Advisory Board meeting in October 2012.

Earlier this month, we marked a milestone achievement for bringing smart growth practices to more communities nationwide: the addition of the 100th member to our Local Leaders Council.

The Local Leaders Council is a nonpartisan group of municipal officials who share a passion for building great towns, cities, and communities. Representing communities of all sizes from across the United States, Council members are dedicated to using smart growth strategies to help their hometowns compete and grow in today’s economy.

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Local leaders, regional teams gather in Salt Lake City to talk smart growth implementation

LLC in Salt Lake CityFrom left: Mayor Tom Beehan, Councilmember Edmund Ford Jr., Councilmember Charles Landreth, Mayor Ruth Randleman, Council President Lewis Reed, and County Board Member Chris Zimmerman.

Elected officials, urban planners and municipal staff from ten regions across the country met in Salt Lake City, UT this week to learn and strategize about the implementation of major regional planning and sustainability projects funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities program.

Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, opened the three-day event by speaking about how regional planning has benefited his city. “If you look at what’s happening in our downtown or with our transit system; if you look at the University of Utah and how it catalyzes economic growth; or if you look at our growing diversity, it is clear that in this community there is a common sense of purpose for who we are, what we want to be, and how we’re going to get there.”

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