2011 Commonwealth Awards: paying tribute to Pennsylvania’s smart growth visionaries

Exceptional things are taking place all over the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. To honor excellent projects as well as outstanding individuals, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is currently accepting entries for its 2011 Commonwealth Awards. The awards recognize policies, initiatives and projects in Pennsylvania that have revitalized existing communities, invested in smart growth, preserved historic and natural resources, implemented land use planning, and/or conserved financial resources.

Individual awards (PDF) are given to citizens or public officials who provide leadership or contributions to their community, take initiative in promoting smart growth principles, advance the objectives of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, and dedicate service to the public or their community. In 2010, awards were given to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler for his leadership at the agency; Jonathon Schmidt of the Southeastern Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project; and John Milius, who recently rotated off the Cranberry Township Board of Supervisors.

The Commonwealth’s Design Awards (PDF) are given to mixed-use developments, adaptive reuse commercial buildings, affordable housing, town center development, historic preservation projects, regional land use, site/master plans and more. The following projects earned the 2010 Gold Design Award:

  • The Century Building (Pittsburgh) incorporates historic preservation into the creation of affordable housing near a vibrant downtown with many transportation options. Additionally, the building is both LEED Gold accredited and meets the Secretary of the Interior standards for historic preservation.
  • With the goal of bringing a movie theater to a small city’s downtown, University Corners/Elevation Lofts on Main (Wilkes-Barre) reflects a successful public-private partnership that was established to produce this successful mixed-use project. CODO 241 (York) demonstrates excellent design integration to a smaller city and uses a creative finance structure to meet market demand.
  • Located in a renovated historic structure, the Marie Lederer Senior Center (Philadelphia) implements mixed-use design as well as adaptive reuse in creating an affordable housing project for seniors.

10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is dedicated to land use policies and improving communities across the state. Since 1998 they have been building an alliance of organizations committed to their mission of creating “land use, infrastructure and governance policies and practices that protect our resources and strengthen our economy.”

The deadline to submit entries for 2011’s Commonwealth Awards has been extended to July 15, 2011! For eligibility and instructions, visit www.10000friends.org.