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.

Dubuque received recognition in the category of Corridor or Neighborhood Revitalization for the redevelopment of the city’s historic and largely vacant Millwork District into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood. Mayor Buol accepted the award at a ceremony in Washington, DC on Wednesday.

“I can remember sitting at the Council table in the 1990s, and the comment was made that people will never live downtown in the city of Dubuque,” said Mayor Buol in a video about the project. “And I think as a community we’ve shown that if you can develop the infrastructure and take your historic buildings and rehab those so that it’s a welcoming space, you can attract people downtown to live.”

The Millwork District redevelopment project is part of the City’s Sustainable Dubuque initiative. The rehabilitated warehouses in the Millwork District are expected to house more than 1,000 new residents, new businesses, and a number of social, art and civic spaces once the project is complete. The refurbished buildings will include energy-efficient technologies.

The Millwork District redevelopment has also helped catalyze the revitalization of the adjacent Washington Neighborhood, one of Dubuque’s oldest and most economically distressed areas. The Millwork District’s vacant warehouses have long separated the Washington Neighborhood from Dubuque’s downtown, so the project will provide residents with better access to the city’s central business area.

“It really is that connection,” said Mayor Buol. “Connecting the older neighborhood with the new redeveloped Millwork District, and our downtown, and the Port of Dubuque. It’s going to be a very vibrant, residential, working neighborhood.”

Other recipients of this year’s National Award for Smart Growth Achievement included: the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park (Atlanta, GA)the GO TO 2040 plan (Metropolitan Chicago, IL); the La Valentina development (Sacramento, CA); the Charles City Riverfront Park (Charles City, IA); the Lower Eastside Action Plan (Detroit, MI); and the Via Verde development (The Bronx, NY).

Local Leaders Council