2014 Lehigh Valley Planning awards

Tonight had the pleasure of attending the 2014 Lehigh Valley Planning Awards. Thanks to William Ahlert/HDR Engineering for the table and the great company of some folks from RenewLV.

The inaugural award ceremony is an initiative of new(ish) LV Planning Commission Dir. Becky Bradley. The event was held at Lehigh’s Iacocca Hall high above Bethlehem and was packed with attendees able to take in one of the best views in the Valley.

The purpose was to celebrate projects, plans, policies and people who show exemplary scholarship, leadership and inspiration in planning and implementation. Recognizing exceptional initiatives is important. As we know the Valley continues to grow at a rapid pace. Because of this we have our share of mundane, cookie cutter and plain old bad projects resulting from a lack of vision. That is exactly why it’s important to celebrate those leaders, builders, architects and engineers who build and lay the groundwork for special projects and initiatives. There is great stuff happening in the LV and it needs to be celebrated. Doing so hopefully leads to emulation by other communities.

It’s a goal of mine that LMT’s East Texas Village Center Project will warrant consideration at the 2015 awards in the community ordinance category.

Some highlights: 25 honorees and winners in 9 different categories. The projects below are ones stuck out to me the most as being really great. Take a minute to check out the links to learn more about them.

Community plan category
Borough of Portland Comprehensive plan.

Open Space Project 
Nevin Park Revitalization, City of Easton
Lands at Kirkland open space preservation, Upper Mount Bethel
Prydun/Mickley Farm Acquisition, Whitehall Township

Revitalization Project
Iron Works Site Master Plan, Catasaqua

Transportation project
West End Allentown Streetscape

Multi-Municipal Cooperation
Slate Belt Regional Police Commission. Borough of Pen Argyl, Wind Gap and Plainfield township.

Land Development
PPL Center Allentown

Video-Tony Cimerol

#LVawards2014 #B!LV


The 2014 RenewLV Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities

RenewLV will be hosting the Lehigh Valley’s second annual Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities on Friday Dec. 5th. This will be a one day conference from 8am-2:25 at the Hotel Bethlehem. Last years conference had over 150 local leaders in attendance.

Topics include: Smart Growth, sustainability and more efficient and responsible local government.

Here are some of the main questions that will be tackled:

  • How can we preserve open space while supporting job creation and economic development?
  • How can we prevent costly sprawl as an unintended consequence of regionalized water service?
  • How do we strengthen our cities and suburbs?
  • How can we promote regional cooperation between neighboring municipalities?

I’m very excited to be moderating one of the two main summit panels titled: Land use, open space, farmland and water. Panelists will include members of private sector business, developers, professional planners and representative from county ag and LCA board.

The cost of the summit which includes two meals is $65 dollars per person. For more information and to register visit renewlv.org.

Conference sponsors include: PPL, Just Born, Sam Adams, HDR, Embassy Bank, Brown Daub, Lehigh Valley Health Network, St. Lukes, Spillman Farmer Architects, Morris Black Designs, Norris, Mclaughlin and Marcus, Hanover Engineering and the Sustainable Energy Fund.

RenewLV was launched in 2005 by community leaders in response to a Brookings report that highlighted concerns with: 1.) Sprawling Development and 2.) an antiquated and fragmented system of local government. RenewLV addresses these challenges — a declining urban core, disappearing open space, fragmented local governance — by bringing together a broad range of perspectives and expertise.