Each year, GPA rewards local communities and regional commissions for their work to make Georgia a better place to live. At the GPA Fall Conference held in Decatur, GA, in October, the 2019 Chapter Awards were given to plans and projects that showed innovation, transferability, quality, effectiveness of implementation, comprehensiveness, public participation, technology, equity, sustainability, collaboration and partnership. Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners!
Award Category: Outstanding Planning Process
Project Name: AeroATL Greenway Plan
Award Winners: Aerotropolis Atlanta Community Improvement Districts, Sizemore Group
Summary of the Entry: When challenged with the preservation and sustainability of greenspace, where residents, businesses and visitors can feel the desire to live, work and play by the world’s busiest airport, this team collectively introduced the vision of the AeroATL Greenway Plan. This unconventional plan is dynamic in its structure as it is one of the only plans that exemplifies public, private and non-profit coordination. Sparked by the insight of the Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance under the Aerotropolis Blue Print in 2016 and in partnership with ARC, public and private stakeholders, the AeroATL Greenway plan became a grassroots movement to bring improvements and economic development to south metro Atlanta around the airport.
Accepting the award: Kirsten Mote (Aerotropolis Atlanta CIDs); Chirag Date and Bill de St. Aubin (Sizemore Group)
Award Category: Outstanding Planning Document
Project Name: Gwinnett County 2040 Unified Plan
Award Winners: Gwinnett County Government
Summary of the Entry: Gwinnett County is embracing change as its diverse population reaches 1 million citizens and matures beyond being just another suburban community. The County’s 2040 Unified Plan casts a bold vision for the future, builds upon and continues the long-term vision for Gwinnett County, and identifies short term, incremental steps that can be used to achieve the vision. Page 4 of the document asks the question: “How do we unify the policies of land use, transportation, parks, economic development, housing, water & sewer to ensure that Gwinnett remains a “preferred place” to live and work?” As a result of its innovative approach, the plan has been described by the ARC as “one of the best plans in Georgia”.
Accepting the award: Nancy Lovingood (Gwinnett County); Eric Lusher and Lauren Blaszyk (Pond & Company)
Award Category: Outstanding Plan Implementation
Project Name: Powder Springs Livable Centers Initiative
Award Winners: City of Powder Springs, Tunnell Spangler Walsh (TSW)
Summary of the Entry: The Powder Springs Livable Center Initiative Plan has served as a catalytic planning tool for a struggling historic downtown in Metro Atlanta. This initiative planted the seed for a new signature green space that is now under construction, renovation of historic buildings bringing in much needed economic development and defining alternative transportation projects connecting the City to the 60-mile long Silver Comet Trail in its backyard for a later planned phase of implementation. Powder Springs serves as an example of a small town with a struggling historic core lacking energy and an adequate public space for people to gather. The unique and creative strategies included in this plan can be applied to any community in need. Collaboration among stakeholders was key, and this process continues throughout the current Town Green construction and ongoing historic building renovations.
Accepting the award: Tina Garver, Pam Conner, and Shauna Wilson (City of Powder Springs); Adam Williamson and Laura Richter (TSW)
Category: Outstanding Initiative
Project Name: Virginia Avenue Smart Corridor
Award Winners: Aerotropolis Atlanta CIDs, Modern Mobility Partners
Summary of the Entry: The Aerotropolis Atlanta CIDs and their consultant, Modern Mobility Partners, examined options for technology elements to improve safety, walkability and mobility along the Virginia Avenue 2-mile corridor near the world’s busiest airport. The outcome of the study is a vision for technology along the corridor, as well as a phasing and implementation plan. A menu of over 30 emerging technology strategies was developed and evaluated, including a best practice report to obtain lessons learned and considerations from across the country and abroad. Building on the needs assessment, refined menu of strategies, and best practices and trends technical report, the study team developed a set of site-specific and corridor-wide technology recommendations that will facilitate the current and future development of a smart and highly integrated, multi-modal urban transportation corridor.
Accepting the award: Kirsten Mote (Aerotropolis Atlanta CIDs); Keli Kemp (Modern Mobility Partners)
Category: Special Recognition
Earlier this year, we lost our esteemed colleague, Jamie Cochran. Jamie had a long-career in planning and served as a mentor to many young professionals in the industry. Daniel Studdard, Whitney Shepard, and Bruce Stiftel provided remarks that spoke to the personal and professional mark that Jamie left on the planning field and her peers.
Accepting the award: Chris and Waselyn Cochran, Jamie’s brother and sister-in-law, accepted this special recognition.