Smart Growth News – December 10, 2012

Today’s stories:

Miami-to-Orlando passenger rail on track
Sun-Sentinel (FL) – December 10, 2012
A new passenger rail service is on track to begin in 2015, whisking travelers from Miami to Orlando, while offering hourly trains, gourmet meals and Wi-Fi.

‘Fitness parks’ catch on in cities
USA Today – December 9, 2012
Free outdoor gyms, the latest weapon in fighting the nation’s obesity epidemic, are sprouting up in city parks across the country. Clusters of traditional fitness equipment from elliptical machines to leg press and sit-up benches are being installed in city parks, often in poorer neighborhoods that may not have access to healthful options.

Scaled-down urban farm still a tough sell in Detroit
Detroit News (MI) – December 10, 2012
After three years of worldwide publicity, City Hall bureaucracy and local controversy, Hantz Woodlands Detroit is set for a public hearing today and a possible City Council vote Tuesday.

‘Needy’ workers will get jobs on high-speed rail
The Bakersfield Californian – December 7, 2012
The California High-Speed Rail Authority took steps Thursday to ensure that at least some jobs building the system will go to people who are most in need of work.

Many suburbs borrowing big — and taxpayers could end up paying the price
Chicago Tribune (IL) – December 9, 2012
Though much public attention has focused on soaring state and national debt, the increase in local IOUs has sparked worries that the next generation in some communities will face crushing tax hikes.

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to present initial ‘Sustainable Berkshires’ results
Berkshire Eagle (MA) – December 10, 2012
Regional planners this week will unveil the initial results of a comprehensive, countywide plan intended to improve the area’s economy and quality of life.
The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has completed the first phase of its “Sustainable Berkshires” plan, a long-term, proactive blueprint toward job creation and community enhancement, according to BRPC officials.

New plan for riverfront development in N. Ky.
Bowling Green Daily News (KY) – December 8, 2012
A new riverfront development plan for northern Kentucky proposes large and small projects as a way to maximize the area’s potential by 2020. The plan was developed by Newport-based Southbank Partners with input from several officials and leaders of all six cities that border the Ohio River in Kentucky’s northernmost counties.

BIDs cash in on city contest
Crain’s New York – December 7, 2012
Storefront restorations in East Elmhurst, a branding initiative in Washington Heights and a forthcoming “Funderpass” in Brooklyn Heights were among the winners of the city’s Department of Small Business Services’ BID Challenge announced Friday. The city agency is awarding grants of up to $75,000 for inventive proposals to improve neighborhoods.

The business case for transit dollars
Star Tribune – December 9, 2012
Like many policy arguments, the one about transit has often been miscast. The issue isn’t “social engineering,” but business growth, and how this region can survive, let alone thrive, against competitive peer regions that are increasingly ahead of the Twin Cities in investing in multi-modal transit.