Partnership in the News: Tampa Riverwalk nears completion thanks to TIGER grant

Tampa, Florida has begun construction on the final phase of its Riverwalk, with help from a TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The 2.6 mile pedestrian walkway has been a 40 year effort for the city, spanning 6 mayors. The TIGER grant is partially funding the Riverwalk’s final segment, projected to open November 2014.

The Riverwalk is part of Tampa’s efforts to revitalize its downtown. “This downtown you will not recognize in 10 years, said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, “and it will not end on the west bank of the river. This river will be the centerpiece of our urban experience.”

Tampa is trying to encourage a mix of uses in its downtown, developing work, retail, residential and recreational spaces. The City’s shift in urban land use has facilitated development of the downtown’s first office tower in 20 years. The energy efficient SouthGate Tower will feature office and parking space as well as a 350-room upscale hotel. Bob Abberger, managing director of the Tower’s developer, hopes the project will take advantage of Tampa’s growing business and nightlife amenities.

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Upcoming Webinars: June 2013

Want to learn about new, innovative strategies for creating great places? Several upcoming webinars provide ideas and inspiration for local leaders.

Climate Change Adaptation Webinar Series
Monday, June 3, 2013 – Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Click here to find out more
Hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency and North Carolina State University, the series will bring together tribal, state and local stakeholders, EPA representatives, and experts from a variety of sectors to consider the impact of EPA’s new Climate Change Adaptation Plan on the implementation of federal environmental programs, and to present case studies, tools and solutions to some of the most pressing climate change adaptation challenges.

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Denver's Sun Valley plans for brighter tomorrow

Sun Valley
Sun Valley neighborhood listening sessions. Photo via the Decatur-Federal Station Area Plan.

Denver, CO’s Sun Valley has a new chance to overcome many hurdles towards economic vibrancy thanks to a new light rail line and a Community Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Sun Valley near downtown Denver is a remarkably diverse neighborhood home to a large immigrant and refugee population. The area is also one of Denver’s poorest, with an average annual income of $8,000 per household. More than 9 out of 10 of the area’s residents live in public housing. In addition to these demographic challenges Sun Valley is alo isolated geographically, cut off from Denver’s urban core by the South Platte River to the east, Sports Authority Field at Mile High to the north, and major roads to the west and south.

A new initiative will help Sun Valley overcome these chalenges and become a better place to live for current residents and future ones. At the heart of this work is the Decatur-Federal Station Area Plan, a transit-oriented development strategy for the larger Sun Valley region. Created by the Denver Department of Community Planning and Development and the Denver Housing Authority, the plan centers around a newly-completed RTD FasTracks light rail line. The line extends west from the heart of downtown Denver to Golden, CO, and connects Sun Valley to Denver’s economic opportunities and employment centers.

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Partnership in the News: Portland, Maine and EPA Launch Bikeshare Effort

Portland, Maine has begun to develop a regional bikeshare program thanks to initial technical assistance provided through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

Portland’s Planning and Urban Development Department applied for EPA’s 2013 grants under the leadership of Jeff Levine. Portland residents, Mr. Levine noticed, already had a strong interest in alternative transportation.

“There’s a big commitment in Portland toward the environment and sustainability,” said Levine. “The challenge is providing an infrastructure that can help people to meet that goal.”

Residents were interested in a bikeshare program, but Portland needed a catalytic event to kick-start the project.

EPA’s workshops and forums, conducted earlier this month, jumpstarted the city’s efforts to implement a bikeshare program. Mr. Levine believes EPA’s time in Maine brought a necessary and “strong focus on the issue”. Residents and local officials  participated in the sessions strategizing how Portland can make a bikeshare program a reality. With the project underway, Portland and the project’s supporters now must develop a business plan for a bikeshare program.

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Upcoming Webinars: May 2013

Want to learn about new, innovative strategies for creating great places? Several upcoming webinars provide ideas and inspiration for local leaders.

School Siting: Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities for Communities and Decision-makers
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 – 1:00-2:15 PM EDT
Click here to register
This webinar will help districts, schools, and communities understand the importance of school siting and the impacts on economic development, public health, and the environment. A panel of experts, including Suzi Ruhl, Senior Attorney Policy Advisor in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice; Regina Langton, Senior Policy Analyst, EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities; and Katherine Moore, Manager of Georgia Conservancy’s Sustainable Growth program, will provide participants with information and tools with school siting decisions.

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Partnership in the News: 20 communities receive grants to plan for brownfield cleanup and reuse

Groundwork Hudson Valley
Groundwork Hudson Valley, which help residents reclaim and revitalize communities with great need, is one of this year’s grant recipients.Photo via Groundwork Hudson Valley.

Twenty communities looking to bolster their economy by revitalizing abandoned land will have the help of a 2013 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week.

EPA’s Brownfields Area-Wide Planning program provides funding for research, technical assistance and training that will result in an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for key brownfield sites. EPA launched the program in 2010 with the goal of adopting a broader approach to brownfield redevelopment.

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Partnership in the News: Bergen County, NJ wants transportation choices, less traffic, more walking and biking

Together North Jersey

At a recent public workshop, residents of Bergen County noted that sitting in traffic, few transportation choices, and the lack of affordable housing are things they’d like to see changed.

Together North Jersey, a partnership between 60 local governments, public agencies, non-profits, and others, held the workshop to begin to find out what residents of the 13-county region like about where they live and what they would change. Eventually that input will be turned into a development plan to deal with uneven job growth, high taxes, and an aging population among other regional concerns.

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DOT announces fifth round of TIGER grants

On Monday the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the availability of $474 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for 2013.

DOT is looking for surface transportation projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a region, or a metropolitan area and projects, such as:

  • Improve existing transportation facilities and systems;
  • Contribute to American economic competitiveness;
  • Create and preserve jobs;
  • Increase transportation choices and access to transportation services for people in communities across the U.S.;
  • Improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on oil, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • Improve safety.
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What portion of income taxes go to creating better neighborhoods?

Whether you planned ahead or rushed to get them done, income taxes were due yesterday. Income tax pays for a variety of federal programs, including programs that help communities build in better ways. What portion of income taxes go to these programs?

The White House’s Federal Taxpayer Receipt breaks down how much of the budget was spent on different programs, and what that means for an average taxpayer’s tax payment. Enter your tax information below to find out exactly where your tax payment went.

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Partnership in the News: Corpus Christi's Nueces River Rail Yard

Port of Corpus Christi

Commissioners at the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas have approved a grant agreement to expand rail service at the port with a new rail yard. The project is made possible in part by a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, awarded to Corpus Christi in June, 2012. The TIGER grant program is part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) commitment to fund projects that have significant impacts nationally and locally.

The grant will fund Phase I construction of the Nueces River Rail Yard, which will have capacity for 335 rail cars. The expanded capacity will help the port meet its new shipping demands from recent growth in project cargo shipping for major wind power components. The project is projected to “reduce carbon emissions by about 398,000 tons and save $7.4 million in highway maintenance costs by eliminating 678,000 truck trips during the next 30 years, according to a transportation department fact sheet.”

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