Regional Community Development News – June 1, 2011

1.  Study To See If Townships, Borough Can All Prosper | The Sanatoga Post

How does Lower Pottsgrove- or any one of the seven townships surrounding the borough of Pottstown PA – encourage economic development inside its borders without, at the same time, competing against the borough itself? The Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee hopes to find out from a “regional market assessment and fiscal impact study” due to get started this month (June 2011).

The study has been a discussion topic for months among members of the committee – Lower Pottsgrove is represented there by township Assistant Manager Alyson Elliot – and various groups at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) in Philadelphia. The commission recently agreed to pay for the research as part of its amended 2012 budget.

The committee also consists of Pottstown, East Coventry, North Coventry, Douglass, Upper Pottsgrove, West Pottsgrove, and New Hanover townships. All want to see their municipalities prosper. All want their commercial tax bases to grow. ...

2.  Regional economic development gains new support - The Prescott Daily Courier - Prescott, Arizona

Town government officials are trying to revive regional cooperation on economic development.

Regional cooperation began in 1986 when representatives from the private sector and elected officials from Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley formed the Prescott Area Economic Development Corp. It helped to bring Printpack and the Ace Hardware distribution center to Prescott Valley, according to a memo from Greg Fister, economic development manager.

However, the corporation ran out of money within a few years and folded in the mid-1990s.

Regional cooperation has its supporters in Prescott Valley and other nearby communities. They argue that their communities benefit - even if a plant locates elsewhere - because the plant will hire employees who live in their municipalities.

3.  How is your LEP? - Lexology

The absence of direct funding for day-to-day running costs, let alone capital and revenue projects, means that the LEPs will function in a very different way to the regional development agencies (RDAs) in the past. As the RDAs wind down, some LEPs are hoping that their local authority members will acquire RDA-held strategic property assets for the future delivery of some development projects, and even take on RDA staff. Many LEPs are operating at present with the "loan" of key personnel, seconded for several days a month, to establish the new LEPs' activities. The initial LEP capacity fund will not stretch as far as the calls on it from LEPs, to develop action plans and priorities, so the recent announcement of an LEP start-up fund of £5million will be welcomed by many. LEPs need to show that they are capable of being self-sustaining in the near future and, indeed, that they are capable of delivering the ambitions of their prospectuses submitted to central government.


4.  Vancouver-area mayors race to avoid another delay to Evergreen Line - The Globe and Mail

Metropolitan Vancouver mayors are scrambling to avert a threatened one-year delay in the saga of the region’s most-delayed transit line in history.

Their reactions come in the wake of a surprise statement by the province’s new Transportation Minister this week that he doesn’t expect the line to be finished until 2015 because Metro Vancouver mayors haven’t come up with a funding plan.

But there isn’t a united approach among the mayors as they try to get the project started this year in order to see it finished by 2014, as planned.


The fragile truce between the region and the province on how to come up with $400-million locally for the line was shredded Monday when Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said during legislative debates that he didn’t expect the line to be completed until late 2015. He also blamed regional mayors for not coming up with a solution over the past six months.

5.  Trail towns: Rebranding Northern Michigan as a recreation hotspot -

Tourists heading to the Northern Lower Peninsula in the future will be able to find even the most remote recreational trails and destinations, if a project involving dozens of organizations comes to fruition.

The "Regional Asset Collaboration Project" -- as it is being called for now -- is a patchwork of nonprofit organizations, local governments and government agencies which are brainstorming ways to market recreational tourism assets in Northern Michigan, like the more than 200 miles of interconnecting trails and the 40-mile Inland Waterway, to a broad national audience.

Spearheading the marketing initiative are the Land Information Access Association, Top of Michigan Trails Council, Northwest Michigan Council of Governments and Northeast Michigan Council of Governments, which combine to represent an 18-county geographical area.

"The first phase for us would be to develop a draft website with a map of the trails in the region," ... Cheboygan County community development director.

6.  El Defensor Chieftain: Fighting for their (water) rights

Catron County Commissioner Richard McGuire ... discussed some of the difficulties of regulating water rights.

It's a complex issue, he said, involving water planning occurring at the federal, interstate, state and local levels — each with their own sets of values, regulations and history.

To complicate matters, Catron County contains more than one water basin and planning region. ...

"Catron County must deal with legislation, regulation and planning on the federal level, as well as that of several states besides New Mexico's, plus the southwest New Mexico planning region, before it even begins looking at local planning," he said.

"A well crafted ordinance will acknowledge the primacy of federal, state and regional water planning, while paving the way for maximum protection of local water for local users," ...

7.  3 Questions: Amy Glasmeier on rebuilding after disaster hits

The recent series of tornados and floods in America has severely damaged many communities, from the Midwest to the South, and left them with enormous rebuilding tasks. Amy Glasmeier, head of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, is a leading expert on regional and local economies in the United States, and on regional economic planning. MIT News spoke to her about the reconstruction challenges that lie ahead.

Q. Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., have both suffered catastrophic tornado damage this spring. These two cities have different economic histories: Joplin has been a mining hub, while Tuscaloosa has had a more diversified economy and a major university. Still, beyond the immediate, visible aspects of these tragedies, what are the common long-term dangers these cities face, in terms of sustaining economic activity?

A. Economic problems will emerge to the extent that the local economy is tied to trade and transportation. If the infrastructure is compromised, ...

8. Housing secretary praises Utah growth vision | The Salt Lake Tribune

"Salt Lake City has not only been a leader, it’s also been a model for the entire nation" in turning around such areas with smart planning, Donovan said a few minutes later at a celebration at the Rio Grande train station.

He and local leaders held that event to mark the beginning of implementing the "Wasatch Choice for 2040," a regional plan developed by local governments to guide future growth. The event also celebrated a recent $5 million HUD grant to assist in planning and attracting new development around mass transit stops.

"I saw with my own eyes how the $5 million we are investing … is going to help link affordable housing to jobs and transportation" and create economic growth along TRAX, FrontRunner and streetcar lines, Donovan said.


9.  Sun editorial: Unity, not ultimatums, will help the lake |

Nevada's latest iteration of a bill that threatens the state's withdrawal from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency does little to build the consensus and community needed to truly improve the lake's quality or the quality of life for those who live and play here.

Although the current bill is more well thought-out than the previous version, it still continues to perpetuate a perceived divide at Lake Tahoe. The new bill pits Nevada against California, and Nevada against Congress, in a political move with unknown results.

It's not that the bistate compact that brought California and Nevada together to protect Lake Tahoe doesn't need a once-over — or that the agency that was created by that compact doesn't need some overhauling. It's that both of those goals could be accomplished more successfully with Nevada and California's lawmakers working together.

The Nevada Assembly should reject Senate Bill 271.

Nevada has made its point ...

10. What should be next for brewery site? Public packs meeting to share ideas - Local Highlight - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington

Apartments. A museum. A state-of-the-art aquatic center.

Those were just some of the ideas kicked around Tuesday night during a packed public meeting as part of the community visioning project for the former Olympia Brewery site.

The City of Tumwater, the Thurston Regional Planning Council and Lorig Associates – the Seattle-based consulting firm paid $90,000 to run the project – held the meeting at Tumwater Valley Lodge to gather input as they work to develop a game plan for three sections of the 170-acre site that houses more than 10 buildings.

After receiving an overview of the project and site, people in the standing-room-only crowd wrote down what they want to see at the site before breaking into small groups for more discussion.

All the ideas, visions and questions received Tuesday provide a foundation for what the community envisions. ...

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