Newark, OH looks to support downtown businesses through better parking policies


Downtown Newark, Ohio. Photo from UrbanOhio.com.

When considering ways to boost businesses downtown, officials in Newark, Ohio, recognized better parking policies as one of the key requirements. A free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America helped them figure out how to make it happen.

Founded in 1802, Newark, Ohio is rich with history and character and is the epitome of small town America. The town continues to hold onto its roots in rural traditions and a strong work ethic, as has been a primarily industry- and business-focused area for some time.

Now local leaders are working on a number of policies to make the city even better, and Downtown Newark has become the focus of these improvement efforts. Downtown has remained the hub of commercial and public life in Newark, and there has been significant momentum among Newark residents to revitalize the area. The town ultimately aims to spur economic growth and create a thriving center for people and businesses.

Technical assistance

Learn how your community can grow smarter with technical assistance from Smart Growth America


A view of downtown Oklahoma City, OK by Flickr user Becky McCray. Smart Growth America came to Oklahoma City in April to provide technical assistance.

On Tuesday, Smart Growth America and the Tennessee Department of Transportation released Removing Barriers to Smarter Transportation Investments, a report that provides detailed analysis and specific recommendations to help Tennessee invest more smartly and efficiently in its transportation and infrastructure needs.

The report was created as part of Smart Growth America’s technical assistance, which is available to towns, counties and states interested in learning how to apply smart growth strategies to their own growth or planning. Policy analyses, public investment recommendations and hands-on workshops are among the many services included in our technical assistance.

Technical assistance

Analysis highlights opportunities to improve Tennessee’s transportation system, make best use of limited financial resources

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has partnered with Smart Growth America to increase its efficiency and ensure the greatest possible return on Tennessee’s transportation investments. As a result, TDOT has compiled a series of recommendations designed to pin down areas for improvement, prioritize projects and streamline processes.

“Transportation investments are invaluable to driving economic recovery and prosperity across Tennessee,” says TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “But as this report shows, we cannot be limited to old ways of doing business. We must enable and encourage more flexible, innovative and lower-cost solutions to state’s transportation needs. Prioritizing and designing projects to add the most value for their cost is smart, common sense policy in a time of fiscal constraint, and all Tennesseans stand to benefit from an even more effective Department of Transportation.”

The analysis, Removing Barriers to Smarter Transportation Investments, revealed TDOT currently has nine times more projects in its work plan than it has funding. As a result, some beneficial projects currently run the risk of falling through the cracks, while the service intent of others might be equally fulfilled through a less expensive solution.

Technical assistance

New report and companion workbook highlight successful Complete Streets policies from across the United States

Communities across the United States adopted 146 Complete Streets policies in 2011, and over 350 policies are now in place across the country. A new report looks at some of the best of these policies, and a new resource can help community leaders bring these practices to their town or city.

Complete Streets

Helping Byram, NJ turn its Village Center vision into reality


An architect’s rendering of proposed changes to Byram, NJ’s main boulevard. Photo via New Jersey Highlands Council.

Byram is a bucolic township of 9,000 people located amidst the lakes and hills of northern New Jersey 50 miles from New York City and 25 miles from the Pennsylvania border. Having embraced the land preservation goals of New Jersey Highlands Regional Master Plan, Byram has now set its sites on creating its first-ever Village Center on a 60-acre property – and some adjacent parcels – along New Jersey Highway 206, the town’s “Main Street.”

Byram’s vision for a Village Center has won wide acclaim, including a smart growth award from New Jersey Future, the state’s leading smart growth group and a coalition partner of Smart Growth America. But how to transform a vision into a reality – especially in a down economy and a slow real estate market?

Last week, Smart Growth America led a two-day workshop to help civic and community leaders in Byram grapple with this question. Participants included Mayor James Oscovitch, Town Manager Joseph Sabatini, other members of the Town Council and the Town Planning Board, business owners, property owners, and many interested Byram residents.

Technical assistance

Greer, SC explores transit options along Route 29 with help from Smart Growth America

Community leaders in Greer, South Carolina, are trying to figure out if and how the town might create better transportation options for its residents and earlier this month, Smart Growth America went to Greer to help those leaders answer some of these questions.

Smart Growth America and our partner Strategic Economics led a workshop on Implementing Transit-Oriented Development. Transit-oriented development, or TOD, means building homes, offices or stores close to public transportation stations. This strategy supports the businesses along the public transportation line, and makes commuting more convenient for residents – even those who don’t ride public transportation. The one-day workshop laid out both the short and long-term benefits such a strategy would bring to Greer’s transportation and planning staff members as well as business and community leaders.

“Greer is extremely interested in smart growth solutions, as our fiscal and environmental well-being depends on having a thoughtful and reasonable pattern of growth across our region,” said Mayor Rick Danner in a statement. “In fact, we see smart growth solutions as the only responsible way to address our transportation needs. Our community faces a choice between an expensive expansion of the I-85 corridor or an enhanced transportation corridor along Highway 29.”

Technical assistance

Free Technical Assistance Available: Plans, Policies and Practices for Sustainable Communities

Envision Minnesota announced on Thursday that the EPA Office of Sustainable Communities’ Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program has awarded grant funds to Forterra and the Building Sustainable Communities Consortium. These organizations will provide technical assistance for community development.

Uncategorized

EPA Announces 2012 Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Recipients

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the 2012 recipients of the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program. SGIA will provide technical assistance to five communities nationwide that request the EPA’s help in finding the best strategies for sustainable growth. As part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the EPA will be working along with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The 2012 recipients are: the state of Vermont; Madison County, NY; San Francisco, CA; Spokane Tribe of Indians, WA; and Billings, MT.

Uncategorized

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