Archive for July, 2012

Grants to Green Selects ARC for Assessment of Energy, Water Use

July 24, 2012

ARC Press Release

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has selected the Atlanta Regional Commission for an environmental assessment through its Grants to Green program. Southface will conduct the assessment of ARC’s facilities and recommend opportunities for operating more sustainably, particularly as related to energy and utility use. In the assessment phase, Southface will provide technical assistance, planning facilitation and staff education. The assessment will include energy and water audits, with prioritized recommendations. Once an assessment has been completed, ARC will be eligible to apply for implementation funding up to $50,000.

The audit is funded through the Grants to Green program of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. The Grants to Green program provides environmentally-focused knowledge and funding to strengthen nonprofits in the Atlanta region. The founding partners of Grants to Green are the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, providing expertise in grant-making, and Southface, providing expertise in energy efficiency.

ARC has supported ‘green’ initiatives for many years.  The agency has offered incentives for employees who carpool or ride transit for more than a decade. More than three years ago, it expanded its sustainability practices, coinciding with the launch of its Green Communities certification program for local governments. Activities to date include expanded solid waste recycling, purchasing of ‘green’ or recyclable products and the purchase of hybrid vehicles for the agency fleet. In addition, the League of American Bicyclists has recognized ARC as a bicycle-friendly business for its bicycling awareness and bike share program.

For More Information Contact:

Grace Trimble

(404) 463-3192

Taking the Pulse of Development Trends in the Region

July 23, 2012

As mentioned in a recent Land Matters post, the 2012 ARC Development of Excellence Awards nomination season is here. ARC and the Livable Communities Coalition (LCC) are partnering on this prestigious program again this year and are seeking compelling nominations from around the region.

We’re looking for exemplary work in revitalization, transit accessibility, affordable housing, conservation and sustainability. In addition, we’re looking for nominations in the Great Places category, which showcases places, communities or neighborhoods that contribute significantly to Metro Atlanta’s unique character.

In connection with this year’s search for nominations, ARC and LCC are looking more broadly to explore the current state of innovative development in Metro Atlanta through a series of articles and blog posts. The goal is to take the pulse of planning and development trends in the region. So as you consider potential Development of Excellence nominees, consider these key questions as well:

  • Over the past year, what project or place has made a difference in the character of the community where you live or work?
  • Which project has been particularly aligned with the goals of ARC’s Regional Transportation and Development and Plan, PLAN 2040?
  • What have been your recent experiences with mixed-use development?
  • Are you seeing an appetite in the development community for new mixed-use projects?
  • Do you see a trend toward more incremental or smaller-scale development?
  • Are local codes becoming more supportive of innovative and non-traditional development forms?
  • If you live or work in a community served by transit, are you seeing development pressure around stations?
  • What do you see on the horizon for affordable housing and its relationship to building form?
  • Do you see the development community targeting brownfields and greyfields for reuse?
  • What are the biggest impediments to repurposing brownfields, greyfields and other disused or underutilized properties in our region?
  • What innovative conservation and sustainability practices are you seeing in recent development projects?
  • How has more recent development differed from pre-recession development? Have there been improvements?
  • What recent patterns or trends could become best practices in the long term?
  • Does the “new normal” apply not only to financing but to building forms and uses as well? If so, how do you see this relationship playing out in your community?

ARC and LCC want to hear from you. What trends are you seeing in innovative development in Metro Atlanta? What is your idea of a Development of Excellence (DOE) or a Great Place that helps make the Atlanta region special?

Post a comment to get the conversation started, and then visit ARC’s Development of Excellence webpage today to download a nomination form and learn more about the program and past winners.

The deadline to submit a Development of Excellence Award nomination is Friday, August 3, 2012.

GPA Chapter Award Nominations Due by July 31

July 17, 2012

A reminder from our friends at the Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association (GPA):

GPA recognizes outstanding work in the planning profession in Georgia with the annual GPA Awards Program.  This year’s awards will be presented at the GPA Fall Conference, to be held on September 26-28 in Columbus, GA.

Applications are due by the close of business on Tuesday, July 31, 2012.

Please visit the GPA Awards webpage for more information including nomination criteria, application forms and instructions.

Deadline Approaching for EDA Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Applications

July 17, 2012

From a recent U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) e-blast:

If you are a city with at least 100,000 residents, you are eligible for EDA’s first of its kind Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge. The SC2 Challege is an innovative initiative that will award six cities – one from each of EDA’s regions – with up to $1 million to conduct a local prize competion in which multidisciplinary teams will compete for cash prizes by developing the best economic development plan for each city.

Applications are due on Monday, July 23, 2012.

What is SC2?
Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) is a customized pilot initiative to strengthen local capacity and spark economic growth in local communities while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently. SC2 channels the resources of the federal government to help empower cities as they develop and implement their vision for economic growth.

The SC2 Challenge allows communities nationwide to compete for comprehensive economic planning assistance through a grant competition designed to spark local innovation. The challenge will start with the competitive selection of six cities, one in each of EDA’s regions. Each of the winning cities will receive up to $1 million to conduct their own two-phase competitions. In the first phase, winning cities will encourage multidisciplinary teams (professionals from various fields related to economic development) to submit economic development proposals for their city or region. The highest-rated proposals, as evaluated by a city-appointed review panel, will receive cash awards. In the second phase, the finalists from the first round will compete for a cash prize by developing comprehensive economic development plans that can help these cities transition and strengthen their economies and create sustainable jobs for their citizens.

Deadline & More Information:

The application deadline for cities wishing to be considered is July 23.

View more information about the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Visioning Challenge.

Nominations Being Accepted for ARC’s 2012 Developments of Excellence Awards

July 12, 2012

Each year the Atlanta Regional Commission, in partnership with the Livable Communities Coalition (LCC), honors trend-setting developments in the Atlanta region with the Developments of Excellence (DOE) Awards. Past winners have been honored for exemplifying urban revitalization, transit accessibility, affordable housing, conservation and sustainability. The award is given to developments in the 10-county metro region, or within Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study areas in the 20-county region, that exemplify the policies and practices of ARC’s Regional Development Plan, known as PLAN 2040.

Additionally, in 2011 ARC and LCC began accepting applications for “Great Places.” This new category allows nominations for places, communities or neighborhoods that may not be new developments but contribute to the Atlanta region’s character and provide choices for where and how people work and live. Great Places are enjoyable, safe and desirable, and can serve as regional models for future growth. A Great Place could be a street or multi-modal corridor, a civic space or public park, a great neighborhood or community “village,” or a lively and vibrant downtown; the possibilities are open.

ARC and LCC want to hear from you. What is your idea of a Development of Excellence (DOE) or a Great Place that helps make the Atlanta region special?

Nominations are now being accepted for this prestigious award and are encouraged from developers, builders, and other private, public and nonprofit entities for their recently-completed or near-complete projects.

Nominate a deserving project, community, civic space, etc., by the close of business on Friday, August 3, and then register for ARC’s annual State of the Region Breakfast on Friday, October 12 to learn the winners.

To download the nomination form and learn more, visit ARC’s Developments of Excellence webpage.

Please e-mail questions or completed nomination packets to Jon Tuley at, or mail to his attention at 40 Courtland Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.

Piece by Piece WebEx TODAY at 2:00 p.m. EDT

July 12, 2012

The next Piece by Piece Regional Foreclosure Initiative WebEx, conducted jointly by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), Enterprise Community Partners, and the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP), will be held today, Thursday, July 12, 2012 from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Eugene James, Director of Atlanta Region Operations at Metrostudy, will offer an update and insights on the Metro Atlanta residential market.

All Piece by Piece members and interested individuals are invited to participate.

Call-in/log-in information is available below:

Date: Thursday, July 12, 2012
Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT
Meeting Number: 656 973 652
Meeting Password: This meeting does not require a password.

To join the online meeting (available on mobile devices as well):

1. Go to
2. If requested, enter your name and email address.
3. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: (This meeting does not require a password.)
4. Click “Join”.To view in other time zones or languages, go to

To join the audio conference only :

To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the meeting, or call the number below and enter the access code.
Call toll-free (U.S./Canada): 1-866-469-3239
Call toll-free (U.S./Canada): 1-650-429-3300
Toll-free dialing restrictions:

Access code: 656 973 652

For assistance:

1. Go to
2. On the left navigation bar, click “Support”.

To contact the organizer, send an email to

To add this meeting to your calendar program (for example, Microsoft Outlook), go to

ARC’s CREATE Community Awards Honor Innovative Local Governments

July 11, 2012

(ATLANTA, July 11, 2012) — Each year, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) recognizes local governments for their innovation and creative efforts to make the Atlanta region a better place. Through its CREATE Community Local Government Awards program, ARC also gives all 78 local governments in the 10-county area the opportunity to exchange ideas and help each other succeed. ARC recognized the 2012 recipients at a ceremony yesterday.

“If our hard-working local governments weren’t always looking for innovative ways to solve problems and create new opportunities for improvement, the Atlanta region would be just another metropolitan area,” said Doug Hooker, ARC Executive Director. “But because of their efforts, our region is a place that continues to grow, evolve and improve itself. It’s no coincidence that metro Atlanta was one of the fastest growing regions in the nation during the last decade.”

In an effort to share best practices, the awards ceremony included a panel of city managers that discussed how they find fresh ideas, get public input on those ideas, hire the right people, save money and conduct other critical functions of local government. The panel was titled “Fostering a Culture of Innovation in Local Government.” It included Warren Hutmacher of the City of Dunwoody, Iris Jessie of the City of Riverdale, and Peggy Merriss of the City of Decatur.

The CREATE awards recognize several areas of achievement: Community Involvement & Collaboration (City of Decatur), Regional Prosperity & Economic Development (City of Snellville), Environmental Sustainability (Cobb County), Application & Innovation in Technology (City of Marietta) and Educational Excellence (Henry County). ARC’s 2011 CREATE Community winners are:

Community Involvement & Collaboration

AWARD WINNER – City of Decatur, Decatur MLK Service Project

Senior citizens are sometimes forced from their aging homes because they can’t afford to maintain them. In 2003, the City of Decatur organized more than 100 volunteers for the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Project, repairing homes for low-income seniors. In January 2012, 1,300 volunteers completed substantial repairs on 22 houses and major yard work on 25. The project improves living conditions for seniors by painting, installing ramps, bathroom and kitchen fixtures and weatherization, and by replacing rotten floors, old furnaces and water heaters.

The project brings together hundreds of residents each year, along with nonprofit organizations and local experts. The City of Decatur serves as the leader and organizer, handles permitting and ensures that repairs meet code. Volunteers assess the properties and organize labor and food for three days. In 2012, 7,628 volunteer hours were contributed, $40,000 was raised in in-kind contributions and, most importantly, 47 homeowners received needed assistance.

Contact: Lyn Menne


HONORABLE MENTION – Fulton County Cooperative Extension: Fulton Fresh Mobile Farmers Market Program

This program was established to address health disparities and improve nutrition education in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of illness and insufficient access to grocery stores with fresh food.  It is being recognized today as an innovative and collaborative approach to providing fresh produce to communities and education about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

Contact: Menia Chester


Regional Prosperity & Economic Development

AWARD WINNER – South Gwinnett High School Entrepreneurship Alliance

Entrepreneurial education is gaining traction in schools around the country. However, the program at South Gwinnett High School distinguishes itself by its innovative partnership with the City of Snellville, giving students access to city leadership, the local business community and regional organizations like the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

The City arranges for classroom speakers, arranges field trips and recruits a Community Investor Panel that hears business plans from the 50 students and provides start-up funding so a few of the students can continue making their dream a reality in their local community. So, the program not only teaches students at South Gwinnett how to develop a business plan and start their own business, but it invests in budding businesses in the community to help support the future economy of Snellville and Gwinnett County.

In its first year, 24 student business licenses were issued by the City and nine student businesses received $2,500 each in start-up funding from the local business community.

Contact: Eric Van Otteren


Environmental Sustainability

AWARD WINNER – Cobb County, PEACH Roads

A first of its kind in Georgia, the PEACH (Preserving Environment And Community Heritage) Roads program was adopted by Cobb County in 2010 to help integrate sustainability principles into transportation projects. Based on New York’s GreenLITES program, PEACH Roads evaluates the design and operations proposals for any project meeting a $100,000 threshold and awards points based on project siting, water quality, use of sustainable materials, fuel/energy savings, impacts on air quality and innovation.

Cobb County partnered with the Georgia DOT to develop the program with the thought that it could eventually be adopted statewide. Since launching PEACH Roads, Cobb DOT has reviewed 28 project designs, finding that 21 scored enough points to warrant one of the program’s four certifications. And, the PEACH Roads Advisory Committee, in coordination with GDOT, revised the project design manual based on issues raised during the first five months.

Contact: Laraine Vance, Cobb DOT


HONORABLE MENTION – DeKalb County Renewable Energy Facility

Through this facility, methane gas is converted to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for vehicles and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) for high-BTU gas for pipeline injection.  The operation has the environmental equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road every year and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17,000 tons.

Contact: Tisa Smart Washington


HONORABLE MENTION – City of Alpharetta: North Park Retrofit Water Quality and Flood Control

This project consists of a variety of Best Management Practices to reduce the need for future dredging, reduce upstream erosion and increase the water quality of runoff before it enters the streams.  The benefits for of this project are mostly achieved outside of the City, highlighting the importance of being a good neighbor and looking at a watershed-wide impact rather than stopping at City boundaries.

Contact: Amanda Day


Application & Innovation in Technology

AWARD WINNER – City of Marietta, Crisis Management Application

With a goal of becoming more efficient at dealing with emergency events, the City of Marietta and a consultant developed a GIS-based application that allows staff in the Crisis Management Center (CMC) and in the field to input and interact with data at the same time. With the ability to see all the data in real time, city leaders are able to comprehend the scope of the emergency and apply the closest and best resources for a quick, efficient response that could help save lives.

To date, the application has been performed well in both exercises and live scenarios, such as severe storms and citywide events (4th of July parade and festivities). The Marietta City School System has requested to participate by sending their school bus location data and school video feeds.

Contact: Ronnie Barrett


Educational Excellence

AWARD WINNER – Henry County, E2: Economics & Education Initiative

Most communities can readily identify the challenges they face. But few have come together to collaboratively find solutions to those challenges as the Henry County E2 Task Force did in 2010. The group’s priorities were to increase high school graduation rates, improve academic ranking in Georgia, secure a technical college, become a certified Work Ready community and improve school readiness.

By bringing together leaders from local government, civic groups and businesses, the community not only set goals, but, without consultants or funding, brought positive change to the community. Since 2010, the program has met its 10-year graduation benchmarks, established a Communities in Schools program and an Academy for Advanced Studies, met standardized test score benchmarks, is building Phase 1 of a new technical college, was designated a Work Ready community, has expanded its K-12 mentoring program, developed a summer reading program for kids through the Henry County Library and Parks & Rec, and has surveyed employers to identify work skills needed in the area.

Contact: Julie Hoover-Ernst


CREATE Community Awards Breakfast, July 10 – Register Now!

July 3, 2012


The CREATE Community Awards honor local governments for their creative efforts to improve efficiency and services to citizens of the metro area in five categories, including Community Involvement and Collaboration, Regional Prosperity and Economic Development, Environmental Sustainability, Application and Innovation in Technology, and Educational Excellence.

Please join us on July 10, 2012 from 7:00-9:30 a.m. as we celebrate innovation in local government, the winners in each category and hear a keynote address on “Fostering a Culture of Innovation within Local Government” from a panel of local government leaders.

7th Annual CREATE Community Awards Breakfast

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

7:00-9:30 a.m.

Loudermilk Center for the Regional Community

40 Courtland Street, NE, Atlanta, GA  30303

 Keynote Address:

“Fostering a Culture of Innovation within Local Government”

 Warren Hutmacher – City of Dunwoody

Iris Jessie – City of Riverdale

Peggy Merriss – City of Decatur


Mayor Bucky Johnson – City of Norcross

 REGISTER TODAY! $25/ticket • $125/table (6 seats)

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