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California, Florida, Connecticut, Colorado Communities Cited for Balancing Development, Environmental Protection

Release Date: 11/16/2005
Contact Information:


Contact: Dave Ryan, 202-564-4355 / ryan.dave@epa.gov


(Washington, D.C.-Nov. 16, 2005) EPA today presented its 2005 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement to five communities in California, Florida, Connecticut and Colorado for innovative approaches to development that strengthen community identity and protect the environment.

As communities around the country look for ways to grow that protect and enhance their natural environments and create prosperity, many are turning to smart growth strategies. They are cleaning and reusing previously developed land; providing more housing and transportation choices; preserving critical natural areas; and developing vibrant places to live, work, shop and play. In addition to creating great communities, these smart growth strategies also protect the quality of our air, water and land.

"Smart growth is smart for our environment, smart for our economy and smart for our quality-of-life. All in all, smart growth just makes sense," said Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock. "The award-winning communities have embraced growth measures to the benefit of their residents, both today and in the future."

The Award categories and winners are:

Overall Excellence: Denver Urban Renewal Authority for redevelopment of an abandoned amusement park into Highland's Garden Village, an innovative, compact, mixed-use community that has become a model for development throughout the Denver metropolitan area. The neighborhood offers a wide variety of housing choices, including single family and town homes and affordable senior and family apartments, all on a compact 27 acre site. Shared playgrounds and parks provide recreational opportunities. The use of native plants for landscaping reduces the amount of water used per household (native plants generally need to be watered less).

Built Projects: City of Lakewood, Colo. and the Lakewood Reinvestment Authority for the redevelopment of a declining shopping mall into a walkable downtown called Belmar. By placing stores, homes, parks and work places on a grid of small blocks, with narrow streets and generous sidewalks, Belmar makes it easier for people to walk, bike, drive or take transit when they go shopping or commute to work. The project also includes condominium apartments and town homes, expanding the housing choices of Lakewood residents. Public parks, squares and plazas provide opportunities for people to get together. Belmar has instilled a sense of civic pride in Lakewood by creating a unique urban environment in this large suburban community.

Policies and Regulations: City of Pasadena, Calif. Planning and Development Department for their Central District Specific Plan and Design guidelines. The plan was created with extensive input from citizens and stakeholders by utilizing a variety of outreach tools. Over 85 percent of all permits for new housing issued by the city after the plan's adoption have been in the Central District, most within mile of one of the Districts four light rail stations. The plan encourages development of historically-sensitive, convenient, mixed-use neighborhoods and streets that attract bikers or walkers, while reducing pressure to develop in rural areas with steep hillsides, a situation that can lead to increased stormwater runoff and mudslides.

Small Communities: Town of Redding, Conn. received the award for the cleanup and redevelopment of the abandoned Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill into a mixed-use, transit-oriented neighborhood. An extensive public and stakeholder participation process helped define the plans for cleanup of the contaminated facility and its redevelopment. Many of the mill's original buildings will be preserved and rehabilitated, and buildings that covered over the mill stream will be removed. The stream will, once again, become an attractive feature of the town's landscape. A performing arts center, health facility and 109,000 square feet of shops and restaurants will draw people back to the old commercial center of Redding, reducing the need to drive elsewhere for entertainment and shopping.

Military Base Redevelopment: City of Orlando, Fla. for redevelopment of the former Orlando Naval Training Center into a vibrant new neighborhood that will provide 4,100 homes, 6,000 jobs and 450 acres of lakes and parks, including two miles of lake front property reserved for public use. A new grid of streets, sidewalks and paths reconnects parts of Orlando that were separated by the former base's security fence, creating new ways to get around and reducing congestion on existing streets. Most waste generated during demolition of existing structures was recycled on site. Around 200,000 tons of crushed concrete were used in an underground storm water management system, allowing the city to replace a massive storm water retention pond with 16 acres of parkland. Audubon of Florida helped design the parks and water edges, recreating ecosystems that were lost years ago.

Now in its fourth year, The National Award for Smart Growth Achievement has recognized an impressive array of projects, policies and programs that protect the environment and promote healthy, vibrant communities.

The 2005 call for entries drew 63 applications from 26 states and the District of Columbia. The competition was open to state, regional, local governments and other public sector entities. Winners were selected based on how effectively they used smart growth strategies to improve their communities, and how well they engaged citizens and fostered partnerships.

EPA's Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation is home to the Agency's Smart Growth program, which conducts research and policy analysis on smart growth issues, provides direct technical assistance to state and local governments, delivers outreach and public education and partners in the Smart Growth Network, a coalition of more than 30 state and national organizations focused on development issues.

For more information about the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement and this year's winners, visit: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/awards.htm