y finding new uses for its historic structures and working closely with the regional university, Pittsburg hopes to spur greater economic opportunity to attract new residents and keep students after graduation.
Smart Growth 101
Downtown Macon, GA. Photo via NewTown Macon.
Smart Growth America traveled to Macon-Bibb on April 15 and 16, 2015 to conduct a workshop on Implementing Smart Growth 101. The workshop will help local leaders translate the plans for downtown revitalization into actionable next steps.
A new regional vision will help Graham County, NC and its neighbors work together to achieve shared goals.
In April 2013, Smart Growth America traveled to Graham County, NC to hold a “Smart Growth 101” workshop for county staff. The workshop was designed to provide an introduction to smart growth development strategies, including ideas about how the county could work with other jurisdictions in the region to achieve its long-term goals.
This past January that work took a big step forward with the release of Opt-In SWNC: The Regional Vision. The report was authored by the Southwestern North Carolina Planning and Economic Development Commission, which represents a seven-county region in southwest North Carolina that includes Graham County.
Downtown Franklin, TN. Photo by Wayne Hsieh via Flickr.
Smart Growth America staff met with officials from the City of Franklin, TN, on March 3 and 4, 2015, to discuss a range of strategies to position Franklin for long-term economic growth in the context of new development pressures and rapid population growth. Franklin was awarded the two-day workshop as part of Smart Growth America’s annual free technical assistance competition.
Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 6 and 7, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop sought to provide tribal leaders with the necessary strategies to achieve long-term sustainable growth within the reservation, especially given the development pressures created by the Bakken oil boom.
“The Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes Tribal Executive Board is excited about the opportunity for the tribal staff and community leaders to gain more knowledge and expertise in the area of community planning,” said Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board Chairman A.T. Stafne.
Smart Growth America visited Port Isabel, TX in May 2013 to provide the City with tools to implement smart growth strategies. In particular, the City was looking to revitalize two main areas in its south side—the Old Garcia Street District and the South Shore Drive District. These two neighborhoods, characterized by lasting damages from Hurricane Dolly in 2008, vacant or abandoned properties, as well as obsolete businesses, had fallen behind their counterparts in the northern part of the city.
At the workshop on May 22, 2013, Smart Growth America’s experts met with City officials, residents, and business owners to discuss smart growth in the context of Port Isabel, a small community of about 5000 people. Port Isabel, with historic development patterns and architecture dating to the turn of the 20th Century, is in stark contrast to the high-rise hotels and condominiums of South Padre Island, directly across the causeway. The City’s revitalization plans are part of a larger effort to distinguish Port Isabel as a different type of tourist destination, as well as a comfortable place for families to live year-round.
Dauphin County officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on September 18 and 19, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop helped the community envision smart growth strategies in the context of Dauphin County, an area with varying levels of development density. It also helped to inform the county’s comprehensive planning process.
“We are excited about the opportunity to host this free, grant-funded technical assistance program in Dauphin County,” said Dauphin County Board of Commissioners’ Chairman Jeff Haste. “The goal is to develop local solutions to help our community grow in ways that will provide benefits now and for generations to come.”
City of Port Isabel officials and local residents will meet with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 21 and 22, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop will aim to give Port Isabel the tools it needs to leverage community assets and create a sustainable growth plan for the city.
“Port Isabel’s history and character set us apart, and the City works hard to maintain those assets,” said Mayor Joe E. Vega. “We want to make sure Port Isabel stays a great place to live and visit for generations to come and we want to do that in the best way possible. That’s what next week’s workshop is about.”
City of Port Isabel residents are invited to join the workshop’s first day for an introductory presentation that will feature a broad overview of strategies for implementing smart growth strategies. The event will be held Tuesday, May 21, 2013 from 6:30–8:00 PM at the Port Isabel City Hall, 305 East Maxan Street, Port Isabel 78578.
“Smart Growth America is committed to providing training to help community leaders keep cities and towns livable, sustainable and vital places,” said Roger Millar, Director of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute. “Port Isabel has the potential to create and implement great sustainable plans for the future of their city. This workshop will give city officials the tools needed to start a conversation about smart growth strategies and the value it can bring to their community.”
Photo via Graham County Chamber of Information.
Tucked in a corner of the Smoky Mountains, Graham County, North Carolina is a rural community known for it’s abundant natural beauty, windy mountain roads, local produce and artisans. As county residents look toward the future of their community, Smart Growth America will assist Graham County in how to utilize their existing assets to ensure a healthy, economically productive place in which to live, work and play.
On April 2 and 3, 2013, Graham County officials and local residents will meet with representatives from Smart Growth America as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops aim to find innovative strategies for improving the county’s safety, health and economy through the development of a resident led action plan for future growth.
“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.