Northern Maine counties work toward joint regional plan

On paper, the northern Maine counties of Aroostook and Washington have everything it takes to set the stage for economic success and long-term growth: abundant resources, marvelous scenery, natural assets, a population with strong work ethics and a series of small towns with quaint downtowns. Even the frigid winter weather with its abundant snowfall is an advantage, an obvious draw for outdoor sportsmen.

What they haven’t had, though, is the chance to outline a more comprehensive and integrated regional plan, and to envision how working together could leverage their assets and provide the basis for a brighter and more sustainable future.

Technical assistance

Kimberly, Idaho aims to implement cool planning program with aid from Smart Growth America’s technical assistance

Next week, Smart Growth America will meet with staff from the City of Kimberly, ID as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program aimed at assisting the City of Kimberly implement a cool planning program.

Residents are invited to attend the meeting, which will take place on Monday, March 12, 2012 from 6–8 p.m. at the new Rock Creek Fire Station.

The presentation and discussion will highlight how Kimberly can best plan for growth while enhancing community livability and economic sustainability. Staff will discuss how Kimberly can: Get Centered (creating a vibrant and attractive town center), Grow Compact (avoiding sprawl and minimizing vehicle miles traveled) and Make Streets Complete (making city roads safe for pedestrians and cyclists).

“We are very excited to have been selected for this incredible opportunity,” said Kimberly City Administrator, Polly Hulsey. “This assistance will allow professionals from around the country to converge on Kimberly and to meet with City leaders, business owners, builders, realtors and our citizens to help us maximize our resources, while helping guide us in the right direction for our future. We invite anyone interested to attend the program to provide input and join us in planning Kimberly’s future.”

Technical assistance

Community involvement, local leadership lead Notasulga, Alabama’s comeback

“I’ve been in this town 10 years, and I love this little town,” said Juanita Syljuberget, a resident of Notasulga, Alabama, who works as a contract and grant specialist at nearby Auburn University. “There’s nothing fancy about it, but it’s a quiet little place, and everyone is very nice.”

“But it’s going to dry up and go away unless we do something.”

The plight of Notasulga and its 850-some residents in rural Macon County is not unlike hundreds of other small communities across the country. Years of changing economic and development patterns limited growth opportunities, and the very nature of remote towns left local businesses and municipal services more vulnerable than their counterparts in busy urban centers.

But while the story of a “Small Town USA” grappling with tough financial decisions has been played out countless times nationwide and even in emotional books and films, there is something that sets Notasulga apart: strong local leadership.

Technical assistance

Deerfield Beach participates in “complete streets” policy workshop with help from Smart Growth America


On February 15, 2012, 40 community stakeholders from Deerfield Beach, Florida met with representatives from the National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America as part of a free program helping their city develop “complete streets” policies. In this interactive, day-long workshop, city staff and residents learned how everyday transportation decisions can promote streets that are designed to allow safe access for all users. Complete Streets workshops aim to draw on the experience of community stakeholders and offer new opportunities for them to work together.

The City of Deerfield Beach learned of the economic and fiscal benefits of smart growth in June of 2011 through a workshop with the Environmental Protection Agency. A product of that workshop was a commitment to support a thriving local economy by creating a more walkable community following the guidelines of Complete Streets. The City was able to pursue this goal after being granted a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America. Having established a foundation of smart growth basics, the city was equipped for a policy development workshop, where attendees learned the Complete Streets concept and began developing a customized draft policy.

Complete Streets Technical assistance

Deerfield Beach aims to implement ‘complete streets’ with help from Smart Growth America

Residents of Deerfield Beach, FL are invited to meet with representatives from Smart Growth America later this week as part of a free program aimed at helping the City of Deerfield Beach develop a “complete streets” policy.

On Wednesday, February 15, from 6:30-8:30 PM, the public is invited and encouraged to attend a reception and presentation to learn more about smart growth and complete streets principles. The reception will be held at the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort, at 2096 NE 2nd Street, and is sponsored by the Deerfield Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). Complimentary parking will be available in the Wyndham’s parking lot, located just south of the hotel, at the corner of NE 20th Terrace and NE 1st Street.

Complete Streets are designed to allow safe access for all users. Complete streets are easy to cross, enjoyable to walk along and safe to bicycle on. They allow buses to run on time, allow drivers to move through easily and make it safer for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation.

“The City of Deerfield Beach is in undergoing a revitalization in terms of infrastructure projects,” said Mayor Peggy Noland. “A complete streets policy will assure that the city’s roadway objectives are kept in the forefront with every new project, making Deerfield Beach a better place to live.”

Complete Streets Technical assistance

Smart growth news – December 27, 2011

Byram growth plan honored again
New Jersey Herald, December 23, 2011
Spanning from Maine to Washington state, the 15 chosen communities represent major cities, suburban communities, and rural towns, said Smart Growth America Vice President Roger Millar. The 15 selected communities exhibited the strongest interest in and need for smart growth tools, and demonstrated a commitment from local business, community and political leaders to implement local smart growth solutions, according to Millar.

Tacoma Chosen to Receive Smart Growth Assistance
Exit 133 (Wash.), December 23, 2011
Tacoma has been awarded a grant for free assistance from Smart Growth America. Tacoma is one of 15 communities selected out of a pool of close to 90 applications for the free assistance in implementing the principles of smart growth.

PlanMaryland: A Model for State-Level Smart Growth Planning
Streetsblog DC, December 22, 2011
Parris Glendening, former Maryland governor and smart growth leader explained his support for the plan in blog post for Smart Growth America: “I want my grandchildren to enjoy the beauty of Patapsco Valley State Park and the bustling downtown of historic Annapolis. I want them to be able to eat food grown in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and to find a job here. I want Maryland to be a place they will love.”

Top 10 Daily Digits from 2011
Governing, December 23, 2011
69,000: The number of bridges that need major repairs or complete replacement in the United States, according to a Transportation for America report. Reuters reported in March that the American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that the nation needs to invest $17 billion yearly to improve current bridge conditions.

Housing the Echo Boomers – Next Big Real Estate Opportunity?
Forbes, December 21, 2011
[W]hether Echo Boomers rent or buy, they will need housing, and there are 80 million of them. In other words, recognizing their demographics and preferences will separate the winners from the losers and that has huge financial implications in a generation as large as the Echo Boomers.

Technical assistance

15 communities selected to receive free smart growth technical assistance

A view of downtown Oklahoma City, OK by Flickr user Becky McCray. Oklahoma City is one of 15 communities selected to receive free technical assistance this year.

Smart Growth America is pleased to announce the 15 communities that have been selected to receive this year’s free smart growth technical assistance. Stretching from Maine to Washington State, these communities represent major cities, suburban communities, and rural towns, showing that all types of communities are interested in using smart growth strategies to build stronger local economies, create jobs and improve overall quality of life.

Technical assistance

Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Technical Assistance webinar materials now online

Communities across the country interested in fostering development that supports thriving local economies while protecting the environment and sense of place can turn to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program for resources and tools to help them achieve desired development goals.

A recent informational webinar by the U.S. EPA, Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy), Global Green USA, Project for Public Spaces and Smart Growth America provided an overview of the available resources and the application process of the Building Blocks program. Materials from this webinar are now available online.

Technical assistance

Nearly 90 communities apply for free smart growth technical assistance

Applications for Smart Growth America’s free technical assistance are in, and they tell an important story: communities across the country are eager to learn more about smart growth strategies.

Smart Growth America received applications from 89 communities in 34 states plus the District of Columbia. Stretching from Maine to Hawaii, these communities represent major urban centers, fast growing suburbs, rural small towns and everything in between. This broad mix of applicants shows that all types of communities are interested in using smart growth strategies to build stronger local economies, preserve a sense of place and protect the environment.

Technical assistance

Upcoming webinar: Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Technical Assistance overview


Communities across the country interested in fostering development that supports thriving local economies while protecting the environment and sense of place can turn to the EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program for resources and tools to help them achieve desired development goals.

Technical assistance