Buena Vista Charter Township looks to address long-term fiscal and economic goals during smart growth strategy workshop


A rendering of streetscape plans for Buena Vista Township. Image via MLive.com.

Smart Growth America will meet with residents and leaders of Buena Vista, MI next week to help identify new strategies that could attract business investments and stabilize neighborhoods in the township.

Buena Vista Township residents are invited to join the workshop’s first day for a public presentation on March 5, 2013 from 6-8 PM at the Buena Vista Community Center, 1940 South Outer Drive, Saginaw, Michigan.

Technical assistance

Winchester, CT residents to discuss economic development, fiscal health at workshop next week


Main Street/Downtown Winchester. Photo by the Town of Winchester.

Next week Smart Growth America is headed to Winchester, Connecticut to talk with residents and town officials about how the city can revitalize its downtown and attract economic growth.

“The redevelopment of Winsted has been a historic struggle,” says Winchester Town Manager Dale Martin. “Although several efforts have been taken to envision a revitalized downtown, those well-intentioned attempts failed to revitalize the commercial center as hoped. With the economic upheaval of the past several years, many of the foundations upon which those earlier studies were based have been undermined. The interest and experience of Smart Growth America presents an exciting opportunity to re-shape the future of Winsted, using principles and techniques that have been proven successful elsewhere.”

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Leveraging transit-oriented development for economic growth, better living in Hawaii

[caption id="attachment_23906" align="alignleft" width="640"] An artist’s rendering of a potential transit-oriented development in Waipahu, Hawaii. According to a new report from Smart Growth America and the state’s planning office, such developments could boost economic development and quality of life on the island.[/caption]Hawaii state agencies can leverage transit-oriented development to help deliver on many of Governor Abercrombie’s economic development, quality of life and environmental protection goals, according to a new analysis from the state’s Office of Planning and Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute.

The report’s recommendations come after a series of meetings between state government officials, private sector leaders and non-profit representatives. The group of more than 40 participants, convened by Governor Abercrombie, identified the importance of transit-oriented development to Hawaii.

“The people of Hawaii now have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage transit-oriented development throughout the islands, including but not limited to The Bus and rail transit on Oahu, but also the Hele-On Bus on the Big Island and the Maui Bus and Kauai Bus,” said Governor Abercrombie. “By planning ahead, we can use TOD as a positive tool to proactively direct growth away from agricultural and conservation lands and lay the groundwork necessary to encourage development where it is most needed and welcome for the next generation.”

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Smart Growth America's Top 12 of 2012: Teaching communities how to use smart growth strategies


A Complete Streets workshop in Fairbanks, Alaska, in October.

We’re doing a special blog series highlighting some of Smart Growth America’s favorite accomplishments from 2012. This is the ninth of twelve installments.

In 2012, we helped communities across the country learn how to grow smarter through technical assistance workshops on a range of smart growth strategies.

In Eastport, ME, we provided a two day “Cool Planning” workshop in September that focused on helping the community find strategies for reducing its fossil fuel dependency to help Eastport create long-term strategies and bring down heating costs. Eastport’s City Council supports trying out new ideas, and new public-private partnerships are working to help make future development more sustainable. One of the newest partnerships has been with Thermal Efficiency: Eastport, a project focused on wintertime heating issues. Project staff worked with Smart Growth America during the workshop and is in the process of creating a report outlining recommendations for local development that will be submitted to the City.

Technical assistance

Smart Growth America's Top 12 of 2012: Visiting towns and cities across the country

We’re doing a special blog series highlighting some of Smart Growth America’s favorite accomplishments from 2012. This is the seventh of twelve installments.

In 2012 Smart Growth America went to, worked with and spoke in dozens of towns across the country. It was great to meet the people in those places, and to learn how they’re using smart growth strategies to make their hometown better.

Technical assistance

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.

Technical assistance

Announcing the recipients of Smart Growth America's 2013 free technical assistance


Downtown Missoula, Montana, in Missoula County, one of 2013’s free technical assistance recipients. Photo by Marc Moss, via Flickr.

Smart Growth America is pleased to announce the 22 communities selected to receive a free workshop in 2013 as part of our free technical assistance program.

Each year, Smart Growth America makes a limited number of technical assistance workshops available to interested communities for zero cost. This competitive award gives communities a chance to understand the technical aspects of smart growth development through a one- or two-day workshop on a subject of their choosing.

Technical assistance

A workshop helps Eastport, Maine find ways to reduce heating costs

A view of downtown Eastport, ME. Photo by The Indestructible Enforcer via Flickr.

Eastport, Maine is a charming rural community vying for its survival.

An island off Maine’s northern coast, Eastport is actively working to reduce the town’s increasingly substantial winter heating costs. To help in this effort, the community applied for and received a 2012 free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America and Otak, made possible by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

Eastport depends almost entirely on fossil fuels for winter heating, and pays more for them as compared to the rest of the country. And while all of Maine has severe winters and high heating costs, Eastport is a rural community that serves a primarily low-income and older population, making these obstacles even more challenging. The cost of heating has implications for Eastport residents’ disposable income, the region’s economy, and even home foreclosure trends. The city recognized that it needed to find a more sustainable, efficient, and affordable way to heat buildings.

Technical assistance