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PA Chapter of APA 2013 Annual Award Winners

2013 Award Winners

The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association (PA Chapter of APA) held its Annual Awards Luncheon in Harrisburg, PA where 470 attendees celebrated the esteemed award winners of this year’s highly competitive program. The following individuals and organizations were honored for their excellent contributions to planning in Pennsylvania.  Congratulations!

The following awards were given:

Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan
Awarded to Positively Altoona, the City of Altoona’s Comprehensive Plan
City of Altoona

Positively Altoona was born from uniquely critical circumstances – decades of decline that called for new planning solutions and fiscal recovery under Pennsylvania’s Act 47.  City planners ensured both were intertwined.  Planning goals considered the cost to the average homeowner, and comparisons of finances with similar cities.  The plan engaged and energized the community when it was most needed.  It has the city moving forward to revitalize itself, reuse blighted properties, make needed investments, and showcase its unique character and assets.  It gave a renewed vision of hope for a distressed city.

Opportunity and Empowerment Award
Awarded to Mantua Transformation Plan
Mt. Vernon Manor Board of Directors

The Mantua Transformation Plan was undertaken under HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Program to improve the Mt. Vernon Manor Apartments and surrounding neighborhood in Philadelphia.  Most of the goals aimed to help people – quality education, economic self-sufficiency, healthy lifestyles, and safety.  Partners stepped forward to help – Drexel University, Philadelphia Police Department, Philadelphia Foundation.  Early results included formation of a civic league, community home and school association, and a youth recreation program.

 Planning Excellence Award – Plan Other Than a Comprehensive Plan
Awarded to Business Route 62 Corridor Study
Mercer County Regional Planning Commission
Shenango Valley Area Transportation Study MPO

The Business 62 Study dealt with one of Mercer County’s busiest corridors in an innovative way.  It recommended all low- to moderate-cost improvements, improvements nonetheless that would have high impact in reducing vehicle congestion, and make it better for pedestrians and bicyclers, and help the development in the corridor.  Plan recommendations were varied and tailored to the downtown, transition, and suburban parts of the corridor.  The plan provided detailed steps on how to implement the recommendations.  It led to no-nonsense talk with PennDOT.  After six months, several projects were already being designed or underway.

Planning Excellence Award – Plan Other Than a Comprehensive Plan
Awarded to Central Chester County Bicycle & Pedestrian Circulation Plan
Chester County Planning Commission

The Chester County Planning Commission worked with seven municipalities to prepare a coordinated action plan to address transportation, public health, and the environment through improvements to walking, bicycling, and public transportation.  The plan is well-written and well-organized.  Twenty-three partners built consensus to identify “missing links” in the transportation systems plus cost estimates and priorities for implementation.  The plan also made regulatory recommendations for local ordinances and official maps.

Planning Excellence Award – Public Outreach
Awarded to Make Your Mark! Lower Lancaster Revitalization Plan
People’s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation

 Make Your Mark! brought together residents, community groups, local institutions, city reps, and businesses to create a revitalization plan for the Lower Lancaster Avenue area in Philadelphia.  The community participated by a variety of creative outreach techniques.  A vacant building was used as an open house, painted with chalkboard paint that allowed passers-by to chalk-mark it with ideas and opinions.  Inside were a photo suggestion booth and hot-spot maps.  “Postcards from the Future” were used in forums to get residents to articulate dreams for the future. Conventional meetings and a steering committee were also used.  In all, over 1,000 residents were engaged in the plan.

Student Project Award
Awarded to Aging with Our Communities- An Aging-in-Place Plan for Montgomery
County Temple University Graduate and Undergraduate Planning Studio

Temple University undergraduate and graduate planning students culminated a year-long academic focus on aging communities by preparing a plan for Montgomery County.  The plan goal was to help seniors age in place.  The plan is thorough and thoughtful, and includes specific recommendations for retrofitting single-family homes, accommodating accessory homes, making roads safer, and avoiding fraud.  It presents a concept plan for clustered senior housing and identifies gaps in senior services.  And it presents its own senior population projections down to the Census Tract level.

Planning Leadership Award – Professional Planner
Awarded to John E. Pickett, P.E., AICP, Delaware County Planning Department

 John Pickett was a planner and civil engineer with over 40 years’ experience.  He worked over 30 years at Delaware County Planning Department, director of both planning and community development since 1996.  He was responsible for many successful plans and projects improving the county and its communities.  John was active in PA APA and its forerunners since the early 1980s, most recently as its Vice President.  He was the current chairman of the County Planning Directors Association of Pennsylvania.  As an engineer, he was honored as Delaware County Engineer of the Year in 2006.  John rarely pursued the spotlight and seldom sought the recognition he deserved.  The nomination was submitted and this award is given posthumously.

Planning Leadership Award – Citizen Planning Advocate
Awarded to Ronald Buckalew, Harris Township and Centre Region Planning Commissions

 Ronald Buckalew has devoted his last 24 years to being a citizen planner.  He has been on his home Harris Township Planning Commission since 1989.  Accomplishments have been an open space-clustering ordinance, official map, ridge overlay district, and riparian buffer ordinance.  He served 18 years on the Centre Region Planning Commission and for 16 years was the representative on the Centre County MPO.  He was active in the region’s sewage facilities plan, a model well and geothermal borehole ordinance, and being an advocate for coordinated and multimodal transportation in the region.

Planning Leadership Award – Distinguished Service
Awarded to Irving Hand, FAICP

Simply stated, Irving Hand exemplifies professional and personal excellence as a planner.  His 60+ year resume includes nationally-recognized accomplishments and distinguished service to Pennsylvania.  Prior to coming to PA, he was planning director in Tulsa, OK, and Nashville, TN.  With Hand’s leadership, the renowned Nashville and Davidson County governmental consolidation occurred.  The original plan for metropolitan government was designated a Planning Landmark by the American Institute of Certified Planners.  Also in Tennessee, Hand prepared demographic and reapportionment documentation instrumental in deciding the U.S. Supreme Court Baker v. Carr, “one man – one vote” case in 1962.  He was director of the Pennsylvania State Planning Board from 1964 to 1972, serving three administrations and helping create the Municipalities Planning Code.  In 1972 Hand became a professor in Penn State’s graduate urban and regional planning program.  While there, he established the Institute of State and Regional Affairs, PA State Data Center, and the Basic Economic Development Course, each of which have educated and served a wealth of planners and Pennsylvania.  After retiring from Penn State in 1993, Hand’s affiliation with Delta Development Group led to creation of an annual scholarship award for mid-career planning professionals.  These and other efforts too numerous to mention merit recognition via PA APA’s highest honor.

Certificates of Merit Awarded to:

Plan Other Than a Comprehensive Plan
Lehigh Riverfront Master Plan
City of Allentown

Public Outreach
The Oakland 2025 Master Plan
Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (Pittsburgh)

Thanks to the members of the Awards Committee for the time and hard work they contributed to carefully review all the awards submissions, and especially to Denny Puko for chairing the committee and presenting the Awards Program in Harrisburg.

Denny Puko, Chair
PA DECD
Robert M. Behling
South Heidelberg Township Planning Commission
Cindy Campbell
PA DCED
Graciela Cavicchia, AICP, PP
The Reinvestment Fund
Deborah Howe, PhD, FAICP
Department of Community and Regional Planning, Temple University
Brian O’Leary, AICP
Montgomery County Planning Commission
Brandi Rosselli, AICP
Mackin Engineering Company
Vaughn Stebbins, AICP, GISP
Education Management Corporation