APA PA Chapter News: December

The Latest News from PA Chapter of APA…

Water, water, water. In so many ways, water is critical to all aspects of planning, especially water supply, water quality, flooding, and stormwater. Planners can often defer to other professionals on water issues, but it is critical that planners incorporate water planning into their everyday work. In this month’s newsletter, we describe a couple of water-related projects – stormwater planning in Pittsburgh and a greenway in Lewisburg. We also have a special article describing how you can become more involved in the chapter and its mission. Enjoy!

Planning Webcast Series

Earn over 50 CM credits each year online – at no cost to members of participating organizations that support the Planning Webcast Series. Webcasts take place live on Fridays from 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET and are worth 1.5 CM credits (for live viewing only) unless otherwise noted. The first series is scheduled for January 20, 2023. More information online.

For APA members that still need sustainability/resilience, equity and ethics CM credit distance education sessions are available. The Planning Webcast Series, sponsored by APA Chapters & Divisions, are offering credit till the end of the year (12/31/2022). More information online.

Chapter Conference

Presentations from the annual conference can be found on our website. If you do not see your presentation and wish to share it, please send them to info@planningpa.org

We look forward to seeing you next year in Scranton. We will be at the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, save the date: October 15-17, 2023. 

American Planning Association National Conference Update

The American Planning Association will hold its National Conference at the Philadelphia Convention Center, In-person: April 1-4, 2023 and Virtual: April 26-28, 2023. Stay up to date on conference news here.

Communication and Membership Committee

The Communication and Membership Committee is looking for volunteers to contribute articles for our monthly E-News. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Amy Evans or Amy McKinney.

Opportunities for Giving

Each year the Chapter offers a scholarship to support individuals seeking funds for academic degree programs, internships, and professional development activities.  If anyone would like to contribute to the Chapter’s Scholarship fund, donations can be made here. We accept all major credit cards, or you can send a check. Please make your check payable to “PA Chapter of APA Scholarship Fund” and mail it to P.O. Box 4680, Harrisburg PA 17111.

Pittsburgh Focuses on Stormwater

While stormwater management is no longer a new topic, it continues to be an important focus when it comes to planning, land development, and infrastructure management. Since stormwater systems can range from large concrete storm sewer infrastructure to natural riverine systems, planning for improving a complex system needs a creative and innovative approach.

Like other major cities and authorities in Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) and the City of Pittsburgh developed a strategic plan for managing stormwater. Using climate data, previous regional studies, community input, and best practices by peer utilities, six recommendations were formalized. These recommendations consider equity, the environment, priority sites, and water quality using the P4 Initiative of People, Planet, Place, and Performance as a guiding concept. The plan, prepared by Penn Praxis and The Water Center at Penn, is open for public review and comment at pgh2o.com. Comments are being accepted through February 17, 2023.

Great Places Spotlight: Bull Run Greenway

The Bull Run Greenway was a Great Places recipient in 2022 in the Great Public Spaces category. Located in the Borough of Lewisburg, the Bull Run Greenway is a stream-side public space located along the banks of the Susquehanna River. The Bull Run Greenway includes recreation opportunities for both young and old, providing access to restored stream and nature play areas. The park area within the greenway contains ADA-accessible sidewalks and trails and accommodates an extension of the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail as it continues south to Bucknell University.

The Bull Run Greenway is an excellent example of sustainable stormwater management. The greenway project included stream restoration with expanded and reconnected floodplain to include wetlands to treat stormwater runoff before discharge into the stream, improving water quality. The Bull Run Greenway also provides an opportunity to educate the public on urban hydrology, runoff and treatment. The landscape is enhanced with the planting of native grasses, shrubs and trees along the stream corridor and the project provides the public with the opportunity to experiment with edible landscaping and a food forest. To learn more about the Bull Run Greenway online

Maximizing Your APA PA Membership in the New Year

As we move into a new year, it’s a good time to take stock and make sure you’re getting the most from your APA PA membership.

Make Those Connections

One of the best ways to network with other planners in the Chapter is to volunteer!

Your Section is a good place to start. APA PA is divided into 6 geographical regions called Sections. Each Section is led by a Council that sponsors trainings, networking opportunities, and other events. Reach out to info@planningpa.org to connect with your Section.

Another good way to get involved is through the committees of the APA PA Board of Directors. You can learn more about each committee here or join by reaching out to the committee chair. New members are always welcome on our committees!

    • Legislative: Chair, Ed LeClear, AICP 
    • Professional Development: Chair, Alexis Williams
    • Communication and Membership: Chair, Amy Evans, AICP
    • Healthy Communities in Pennsylvania: Chair, Rebecca Wetzler, AICP 
    • Great Places In Pennsylvania: Chair,  Pam Shellenberger, AICP 
    • Awards: Chair, Craig Peiffer, AICP
    • Planning Officials Development: Chair, Troy Truax, AICP 
    • Student Engagement: Co-Chairs, David Hunter, AICP and Jeff Raykes, AICP

Get Your Learn On

Our Annual Conference is APA PA’s premier event for learning and networking. The Conference is held in October of every year, with locations rotating throughout the state. Every conference includes dozens of CM-certified educational sessions, engaging mobile workshops, and social events for every interest. Join us in Scranton in 2023!

Have you been to a Webinar Wednesday yet? Most first Wednesdays, the Chapter hosts a webinar, free to PA Chapter members, with an option to claim CM credits (must attend live to earn credit), including specialized credits like sustainability, law, ethics, and equity. Topics rotate but are always tailored to Pennsylvania’s unique planning climate.

How about becoming a certified planner? APA PA is one of the “go-to chapters” for planners nationwide seeking their AICP certification. A wealth of study material is available online at no cost. A test preparation workshop is held annually and the annual conference typically hosts an informational session for planners who aren’t sure whether or not certification is for them.

APA PA’s Best Kept Secrets

Our monthly eNewsletter, website, and Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts are for planners, by planners. Sign up, like, and follow for the latest in job openings, best practices, and more. Bonus secret: our website includes a Resource Library with helpful links, a directory of consultants, virtual conference sessions, open RFPs, and more.

You can shine a light on your own community by nominating it as a Great Place in PA. Great Places in PA are real life demonstrations of planning best practices and receive recognition in a variety of ways. Nominations are simple, free, and easy.

If you’ve done a great plan, created unique programs and projects to implement a plan, or know an impactful person in planning, consider submitting to our annual awards program, which recognizes the best and brightest in Pennsylvania planning.

APA PA advocates for sound planning policy at the state and national levels. Our Legislative Committee sets policy positions for the Chapter, advocates for planning solutions with elected officials, and monitors proposed legislation. Our Healthy Communities in PA initiative combines expertise from the health and planning fields to advocate for community design that supports health and wellness.

Our last and best secret is that membership doesn’t have to break the bank. We have a variety of affordable options for students and emerging planners, nonprofit and government organizations, consultants and citizen planners.

‘Tis the Season

As we move through this holiday season, please consider making a donation to support APA PA’s student scholarship programs. These programs transform the generosity of members into a big impact for student planners. Donations may be made by emailing info@planningpa.org for payment details.