2011 GPA Fall Chapter Awards

Download the Chapter Awards Recipient PD

Georgia Communities Earn State, National Honors

Atlanta’s Ansley Park Named a Great Neighborhood by the American Planning Association

(ATLANTA – November 6, 2010) Atlanta’s Ansley Park community was recently selected as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods in the American Planning Association’s Great Places in America program for 2011. Our of more than 100 entries, Ansley Park – located near Piedmont Park in the Midtown area – was selected for its functionality, sustainability, unique character and public participation.

According to the American Planning Association (APA), it was most impressed by the community’s 14 lush parks and the fact that no home in the 275-acre neighborhood is more than a 10-minute walk from one of the parks. The APA also noted the sustainability and continued popularity of the 107-year-old neighborhood.

Statewide Awards

While celebrating the selection of Ansley Park as a national “Great Place,” the Georgia Planning Association (GPA) was also busy naming statewide award winners.

The Georgia Planning Association (GPA) has provided resources and services to planners and communities for more than three decades, offering education, legislative support, the Community Planning Institute and other resources. Each year, GPA rewards local communities and regional commissions for their work to make Georgia a better place to live. 

The 2011 Chapter Awards were given to plans and projects that showed innovation, transferability, quality, effectiveness of implementation, public participation, technology, equity and sustainability.

The winners of the 2011 GPA Chapter Awards were:

Atlanta Beltline’s D.H. Stanton Park Redevelopment Project, Great Places in Georgia, Great Public Spaces – The City of Atlanta and Atlanta Beltline, Inc. partnered to redevelop this park into the first energy-cost neutral park in Atlanta. According to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, the park will serve as a best-in-class model for other parks and other cities to follow.

Roswell’s Canton Street, Great Places in Georgia, Great Streets – Billed as the hottest scene outside the perimeter, Canton Street in Roswell provides walkability and activity for residents and visitors of all ages. Patrons enjoy outdoor dining, along with shops, trees and pedestrian amenities like benches and lighting. Some compare Canton Street to the Virginia Highlands community in Atlanta.

City of Dunwoody Transportation Plan, Outstanding Planning Process Large Community – The City of Dunwoody teamed with ARCADIS to create a comprehensive transportation plan. The planning process was unique, as it first named a citizen advisory committee that served as a sounding board for overall plan and direction. The community at large was invited to participate through several interactive public meetings, and GPA felt that the entire process was inventive, transparent and responsible while encouraging a close community atmosphere.

City of Doraville’s 2010 Downtown Master Plan LCI Study, Outstanding Planning Document Large Community – With a title of “To dare mighty things…,” the City of Doraville created a plan document that provides practical transportation linkages within the community and ties them to economic development. The plan establishes an implementation-oriented plan for the redevelopment of the 165-acre GM site and the revitalization of surrounding areas. The planning process brought together residents, businesses, property owners, developers and economic development officials to make recommendations at generating economic growth, preserving local diversity, expanding opportunities for aging in place and ensuring sustainability.

City of Valdosta’s Downtown Master Plan, Outstanding Planning Document Large Community – The City of Valdosta engaged stakeholders in its vibrant historic core and in its struggling southside to develop a concept that focuses on four cardinal points around the core, projects that create diverse public spaces and innovative planning methods to bring equity between north and south. In order to implement the plan, planners selected the “top ten” priority actions that would lead to execution of the larger catalyst projects.

Augusta’s Heritage Pine, Historic Laney Walker Community, Outstanding Plan Implementation Large Community – The City of Augusta begins a multi-phased approach to redevelopment, growth and sustainability in the inner-city Laney Walker community with the Heritage Pine neighborhood. This project will replace a blighted neighborhood with 26 new single-family, energy-efficient, affordable homes, three rental duplexes and community green space. This is the demonstration project for the larger revitalization plan.

Implementing Auburn’s Vision, Outstanding Plan Implementation Small Community – The City of Auburn grew from 691 people in 1980 to 6,900 in 2000, motivating city staff to initiate a strategic plan in 2005 that revealed the core values of the citizenry and the business community. From that strategic plan came Auburn Vision 2015, the 2008 Comprehensive Plan, the 2010 Strategic Implementation Plan and the 2011 Auburn Redevelopment Plan. These documents have served to help identify funding and implementation of City resources to build out Auburn’s vision over the last 16 years. 

Columbus’ Community Planning All Year Round Initiative, Outstanding Educational Tool Large Community – This City of Columbus initiative provides citizens with information and full access to land use and transportation planning decisions, as well as project development in a convenient and timely manner. The package of tools includes email blasts, a quarterly newsletter, social networking sites, video, a redesigned website and community events.

Thomasville Community Landmarks Multi-Use Trail, Outstanding Initiatives Small Community – This 14-mile pedestrian trail circumnavigates the city, connecting to residential historic districts, commercial areas and recreational facilities. The initiative promotes public-private partnerships to fund the trail and facilitate redevelopment in Thomasville. The trail is divided into five phases and works in tandem with the city’s redevelopment plan.

ARC’s PLAN 2040 Regional Agenda, Outstanding Initiatives Large Community – PLAN 2040 is the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 30-year plan for the future of the Atlanta region. It is founded on the pillars of environmental, economic and social sustainability. The planning process brought together planners, local governments, citizens, elected officials and business/nonprofit stakeholders for more than two years as PLAN 2040 was developed. The plan was adopted by ARC in July.

Chatham County’s “Rediscovering Roots:” A Food Policy Planning Initiative, Outstanding Initiative Large Community Honorable Mention – Savannah’s leaders harkened back to the days of the colony’s conception when food system planning played a prominent role in James Oglethorpe’s vision. Addressing the dependence of the food system on fossil fuels and the failure of markets to meet the needs of low-income families, the plan returns to Savannah’s traditions when local food was plentiful.

Georgia Tech’s Fort McPherson Community Action Plan, Outstanding Student Project – The Georgia Tech Planning Studio responded to the concerns of the neighborhoods around Atlanta’s Fort McPherson as the base’s closure and redevelopment loomed in 2010. Students provided assistance to a community action plan and helped residents influence the planning process to create redevelopment that meets the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. 

David Howerin, Planning Director for Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, Distinguished Leadership Award – Mr. Howerin leads the regional commission’s staff in providing planning services for local governments in a 15-county area around Rome. He advises elected and appointed officials on a variety of topics from comprehensive planning, to solid waste management, to intergovernmental coordination. Howerin has played a large role in developing job training and neighborhood improvements within the regional commission boundaries for the last 30 years, and helped the area obtain a $21 million Broadband Technology Opportunity Grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Cam Jordan, Distinguished Leadership Award – Cam Jordan spent more than 20 years in a series of self-help programs for recovering Journalism and Psychology majors before spending the last 13 as Community Development Director for the City of Fitzgerald. He advocates for safe, decent and affordable housing from his own two-room cabin on a local pond. When not working, Cam is a woodworker who enjoys the company of his dog and cat.